Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/804/18364
A socialist alternative to the austerity parties
Socialists in Coventry are preparing to contest every seat in the May council elections.
Former councillor Dave Nellist, who held St Michael's for 14 years for the Socialist Party, said: "Both parties on the council support an austerity budget that's cut hundreds of jobs and allowed millions of pounds to be lost to our city, without any sort of real protest.
"It matters little whether Labour speaks of making Coalition cuts 'with a heavy heart' - cuts made with enthusiasm or an aching heart hurt just the same."
Socialist candidates are opposing Coventry council's plans for a further £19 million worth of cuts in local spending; demanding a £10 an hour national minimum wage; that the council draw up plans for thousands of new homes to cut lengthy waiting lists; and insisting that the 'bedroom tax' be scrapped now.
Dave added that Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaigners would use the election period to demand free parking at Walsgrave Hospital, and for current PFI and privatisation contracts in the NHS to be cancelled.
- TUSC will launch its citywide challenge on Wednesday 26 March at Coventry's Methodist Central Hall, 7.30 pm
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral alliance that stands candidates against all cuts and privatisation.
It involves the RMT transport union, leading members of other unions and socialists including the Socialist Party.
This May TUSC plans to stand hundreds of no-cuts candidates in the council elections against all the austerity parties voting through the destruction of jobs and services. Could you be a candidate?
- See tusc.org.uk
Unison should back anti-cuts candidates
Unison member, Swansea
"The Chancellor wanted to put clear blue water between him and Labour," was the assessment of Unison's general secretary, Dave Prentis, on George Osborne's budget.
However, Labour's would-be 'iron chancellor', Ed Balls, soon made sure that no blue water opened up between the Con-Dems and Labour.
In the week of the budget he promised that Labour would be "ruthless" in cutting public spending.
Prentis rightly states that Unison members and their families can't wait until 2018 to reverse our declining living standards.
But we want to see these words backed up with action; the coming union conferences need to be 'councils of war' to take on the Con-Dems and the employers now. Never mind 2018, we can't wait until next year's general election!
If Labour's commitment to austerity isn't enough to convince Unison leaders that Labour isn't on our side, then consider what one Labour-led authority is doing here in Wales.
Carmarthenshire is taking away all union secondments from 1 April, threatening representation for the County's 4,000 Unison members.
Labour councillors vote for cuts to our jobs and services; now they vote to attack union rights and representation.
Unison must break with the Labour Party that has gone over entirely to the side of the employers. We should stop funding this third bosses' party.
If our union's leadership prevents the membership from discussing and voting on disaffiliating from Labour then we need to build an effective campaign from below, organising members to check which political fund they pay into and encouraging them to switch from the affiliated fund to the general political fund.
Disaffiliating from Labour is only half the battle though. Until Unison members are able to democratically decide to back candidates in elections who are committed to vote against all cuts, such as Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates, then we won't have a full armoury of weapons to use in the fight to save jobs and services.
- Sign the petition to demand Carmarthenshire's Labour-led council rethink ending all union secondments: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/carmarthenshire-council-labour-leader-kevin-madge-reinstate-trade-union-secondments
Doncaster care workers standing for TUSC
Doncaster care workers - who have been forced into taking two seven-day strikes to prevent their ruthless employer, Care UK, imposing new contracts with devastating pay cuts - are standing as anti-cuts TUSC candidates in May's council elections.
They include: striking Care UK worker Greg Beaumont (Edenthorpe), strike supporter Jason Fawley (Adwick) and RDASH Unison stewards Rob Green (Wheatley) and Steve Williams (Conisbrough).
In The Socialist 26 March 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns