Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/688/12931
The Socialist 5 October 2011 |
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London union leaders call for electoral challenge
In July, the London Transport regional council of the transport union RMT unanimously passed a resolution stating that the 2012 elections for the Greater London Assembly (GLA) and mayor present an opportunity for a trade union based anti-cuts challenge involving community campaigns. It was agreed that one option would be for this to take place under the name of Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts, a registered name of the Trade Unionists and Socialists Coalition (TUSC). The regional council was instructed to approach other trade unions and campaigns to raise the idea of such an electoral challenge.
A meeting took place in September of leading members of the RMT, FBU and NUT in London, together with members of the TUSC steering committee, the Socialist Party and Socialist Workers Party. Interest was also expressed by leading CWU, POA and PCS members.
Ed Miliband's statements at the TUC conference, and since at the Labour conference, have simply served to underline the necessity of a trade union-based anti-cuts challenge. The Labour Party is clearly not about to support the mass action of millions of workers in the generalised public sector strike action being prepared for 30 November.
In the local elections all over England in May 2012 Labour councils will shamefully be attempting to defend their record of callously passing on Tory cuts, weeping crocodile tears as they send hundreds of thousands of workers down the road.
With the GLA elections taking place with a form of proportional representation, there is the potential for a trade union based anti-cuts alternative to attract angry voters.
To build support for such an initiative, we are calling on trade unionists to add their names to an appeal from Steve Hedley and John Reid of the RMT, and Ian Leahair and Ben Sprung of the FBU (in a personal capacity).
- You can download the letter and petition sheet from www.tusc.org.uk or www.socialistparty.org.uk. Return to TUSC, 17 Colebert House, Colebert Avenue, London E1 4JP. To add your name contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greater London Assembly elections May 2012
A call to support anti-cuts candidates
We believe that in next year's Greater London Assembly elections there must be trade union and socialist candidates who oppose all the cuts being forced through by the Con-Dem government. We cannot support Labour's policy that some cuts are necessary but should be implemented more slowly. We deplore Ed Miliband's criticism of millions of trade union members who are ready to strike over pensions.
The recession is causing untold misery. Already four in ten children (650,000) in London live in poverty, a higher proportion than anywhere else in the UK. Unemployment in the city has passed 400,000 for the first time in 15 years. These cuts, whether implemented more quickly or more slowly, will have a devastating impact on the lives of the vast majority of people who live or work in London...
...We cannot afford these cuts. Everything that makes life tolerable is being destroyed. We need an alternative policy - one that puts ordinary people before bankers' bonuses and big business profits.
Following discussions involving the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and representatives of our unions in London, we have decided to appeal for your help to ensure that there will be candidates we can support in next year's GLA elections.
With the expenses scandal and attacks on working class living standards, is it any wonder that only 26% of voters trust MPs? We want candidates people can trust; who will fight against all cuts and defend the interests of ordinary Londoners.
We ask for your support. Please print and sign this statement. We will be calling further meetings to plan our campaign and want you to get involved. We are stronger when we stand together. Together we can make an impact next May.
Yours in solidarity,
Steve Hedley - RMT London organiser, Ian Leahair - FBU executive member for London, John Reid - RMT assistant regional secretary, London Transport, Ben Sprung - FBU regional organiser for London.