Unison attacks TUSC candidate

In the Unison newsletter produced in Southampton for the local elections the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Unison members standing as candidates for TUSC were criticised.

Tim Cutter, Hampshire Unison branch secretary and a TUSC candidate in Southampton was named. Yet Tim has campaigned, with the full support of Hampshire Unison members, against all cuts and against giving support to the Labour Party carrying out attacks on Unison or any workers.

At no time has he or TUSC claimed to have any official support from Unison. Unison members are free to stand for any party of their choice. Many do and stand for the Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid, SNP and even the Conservatives.

TUSC candidates have the support of the RMT union, leading national trade union figures such as Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, Nina Franklin, National Union of Teachers (NUT) senior vice-president elect, Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary, alongside thousands of trade union activists. Many Unison branch officers and lay elected officers support TUSC in a personal capacity.

Building TUSC is an essential element in developing a powerful movement that can defeat the cuts, offer a clear alternative to the austerity agenda and move towards a trade union-based new mass workers’ party.

The Socialist Party, also attacked by Unison, has played a prominent role in opposing all cuts in Southampton against Labour, Lib Dem and Tory councils. We do not accept the argument of lesser-evilism that: “Labour cuts are better than Tory cuts.” The Socialist Party and TUSC supports the position of unions such as PCS, RMT and others that the cuts are not necessary, not inevitable and must be opposed.

In Southampton when the Labour Party last controlled the council, Labour was so unpopular that the official position of the Unison branch was to call on members not to pay into the affiliated political fund. Even now Labour talks of carrying through £34 million cuts to jobs and services over the next two years. This fully justified TUSC and the Socialist Party standing in the election on a programme of no cuts.