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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 April 2013

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

In local council elections on 2 May 5% of the seats will have a fighting anti-austerity alternative on the ballot paper.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing 121 candidates, in 20 of the 35 councils with elections this year.

Contrast this with when these seats were previously contested in the four-yearly local elections cycle.

In 2009 a year after the financial crisis broke and when Labour polled just 24% of the vote, there were literally just a handful of candidates presenting a working class alternative to the pro-austerity consensus.

It is mainly county councils up for election in May, overwhelmingly Tory-controlled - though Cumbria has been run by a Labour-Conservative coalition! But these councils administer a range of services - from education, adult social care and youth provision, to libraries, highways and emergency services - covering a population of 24 million, control combined budgets of 43 billion, and employ 750,000 workers (including school staff).

TUSC's platform for these elections (see below) offers a distinct alternative in elections where Labour candidates may try to present themselves as 'anti-cuts'.

TUSC candidates

TUSC candidates include national executive committee members of the RMT transport workers' union and the PCS civil servants' union and regional and branch officers from both.

There is a Unison health sector group executive member, a Communication Workers Union regional organiser, POA branch officers, and numerous Unite, Unison and National Union of Teachers local union reps.

College students are standing, and an 89-year old National Pensioners Convention activist.

In 2011 TUSC stood in 2% of the seats being contested, in 2012 in 4% of metropolitan council elections.

May's election challenge, in more seats in a different terrain, is another step in TUSC fulfilling its function of being a means for trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to present a common banner against the establishment parties.

See www.tusc.org.uk for the full list of candidates

TUSC demands:

All TUSC councillors will:

We will support councils which in the first instance use their reserves and borrowing powers to avoid passing them on - while arguing that the best way to mobilise the mass campaign necessary to defeat the cuts is to set a budget that meets the local community's needs. We demand that the government makes up the shortfall.


In brief

Third place for TUSC in Knowsley

TUSC candidate Steve Whatham won third place in a Knowsley council byelection on 4 April. Labour held Prescot West seat with 44% of the vote.

The Lib Dems kept their second place position from last May's contest. Steve got 8.5% of the poll, ahead of both Tories and Greens.

In the Merseyside borough of Knowsley all 63 councillors are Labour, but the byelection showed again that the TUSC banner can be picked up by anti-cuts campaigners to mount a credible working class challenge to the pro-austerity consensus.

Labour 441; Lib Dems 403; TUSC 86 (8.5%); Conservative 62; Green 14

'I'd rather stand as a TUSC candidate...'

"I was a Labour councillor on Wyre borough council from 1995-1999. I left Labour in 2002 because of its break with socialism and the trade unions.

Basically since then I have supported union campaigns against cuts as a union activist, a member of the GMB.

I was going to stand as an independent socialist against the cuts, as I have been attacking the cuts in the local paper...

As a trade unionist I fully endorse the platform your candidates are standing on, which is why I would much rather stand as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate. With that in mind I submit this application and ask for you to consider me."

Ray Smith

Ray is now TUSC candidate for the Lancashire county council seat of Fleetwood East, with RMT executive member Kevin Morrison standing in nearby Thornton Cleveleys.

TUSC union forum

The TUSC trade union forum met for the first time on 6 April. National or sectional executive level trade unionists were present from the RMT, PCS, NUT, Unison, Unite and the UCU.

RMT executive members Daren Ireland and Sean Hoyle are preparing a report of the meeting. May's TUSC steering committee will discuss the proposals raised, including plans for a campaign on union rights in the run up to the general election.

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In The Socialist 10 April 2013:


Thatcher's death

Now let's bury Thatcher's legacy

Thatcher: a class warrior for capitalism

Thatcher's death: readers respond 1

Thatcher death: readers respond 2


Socialist Party news and analysis

Halt the Thatcherite onslaught - TUC must call a 24-hour general strike!

Con-Dems' latest cruel cut: Disability Living Allowance

HBOS scandal is just the tip of the iceberg

Tories and press use Philpott case to attack 'welfare culture'


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

Warrington: Suspended for fighting the cuts

Doncaster: 60 at Mary4Mayor rally

Greater Manchester: Stop extermination of our NHS

Cheltenham marches against A&E cuts

'Forced out of work, forced out of Spain'


The bedroom tax

Beat the rotten bedroom tax

Bedroom tax: Can't pay - determined to stay!


International socialist news and analysis

Fears of a nuclear conflict on the Korean peninsula increase


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS plans more action

Pickets discuss coordinated strikes

Fight the attacks on NHS working conditions

Unison NEC elections: Vote for a fighting democratic union

PCS elections: vote Democracy Alliance/Left Unity


Socialist Party review

Hillsborough - never forgotten


 

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