The Wakefield and Newcastle legs of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) ‘Enough is Enough – but what can we do at the ballot box’ speaking tour took place on 13 October. The meetings heard from activists that have been involved in strikes and protests around the cost of living.


Trevor Howard, a lay tutor for transport union RMT, said the Conservative government had been trying to block rail companies coming to a deal to resolve the strike. Trevor said the phenomenal sums of money currently being taken out of the rail network by private operators makes the case for public ownership.

Yasar Ahmed, a leader of the Wakefield Drivers Association, that has organised protests over the council’s controversial and draconian ‘Suitability and Convictions Policy’ (see ‘Wakefield Labour suspends councillor for backing taxi drivers’ dispute’). Yasar explained how taxi drivers across West Yorkshire feel let down by by Labour councils – many say they can’t vote Labour.

But Yasar explained that the Conservatives are no option either. That is why he welcomed TUSC standing candidates in the local elections to give drivers and other workers a real choice.

The Socialist Party was represented by two speakers – Mick Griffiths and myself. We pointed to Labour’s retreat from policies that could make a real difference to the lives of working-class people under Kier Starmer.

It’s clear a political voice for these struggles by workers is necessary. We called on the trade union leaders – and MPs blocked from standing for Labour, such as Jeremy Corbyn and Sam Tarry – to take the initiative to launch a working-class election challenge.

In the absence of such a development, TUSC is encouraging workers and trade unionists to stand on a no-cuts basis in the council elections, and TUSC is seeking to prepare a coalition of the willing to stand the 100 general election candidates needed to secure a television broadcast.

Iain Dalton, Yorkshire Socialist Party secretary


Martin Powell-Davies – National Education Union (NEU) and Socialist Party member – quoted from an RMT picket that “Labour are the least worse option in the next election, but we deserve better than the least worst”.

Emma Campbell, a University and College Union (UCU) branch secretary, whose members are striking over pay, said that even some the few who had voted against action were now out on strike.

Emma said wages had stagnated and staff were relying on food banks. The massive staff turnover meant that the college couldn’t get specialist teachers, as lots are returning to industry. Now both the NEU and NASUWT unions are balloting for strike action as “all education has had enough”.

William Jarrett, from North Tyneside, outlined TUSC’s activity in the area, including a 15% vote in one ward in last year’s council elections. At the end of the meeting, three new candidates came forward to stand in the local elections.

Norman Hall, South Tyne and Wear Socialist Party