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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 March 2014

Union question time - Labour has no answers

James Evans

I went to a recent Communication Worker's Union Question Time in Manchester. The panel included Michael Kane, newly elected Labour MP for Wythenshawe and Kevin Maguire from The Mirror who had written an article calling on the unions to break the link with Labour.

All the panel other than Maguire endorsed the individualised membership recommended in the Collins review and refused to defend unions' right to have a collective voice in the party. Most trade unionists present were angry at this.

When I spoke I said I'd had a period of unemployment, even though I was promised that university would open the door to success.

Under Labour, there was a push towards getting people into higher education. But there are not enough jobs, 40% of graduates are now unemployed six months after graduating, and an average of 80 people apply for every graduate job.

I asked what a Labour government would do about this. A Labour councillor said they would guarantee work after two years of unemployment, but I defy anyone to live on 55 a week for two years.

The audience were angry at Atos for making millions from taxpayers by judging people's capacity for work.

The panellists tried to join in on their ATOS-hating. But under the last Labour government Atos earned substantial sums of money, including a 300 million contract from NHS Scotland.

After the meeting I told Michael Kane that I had seen an ambulance with the logos for Arriva train operator and the NHS which made me feel sick as I hate seeing public services being sold off. Kane replied: "Well you can't blame the government for handing out that contract."

So a member of the party that set up the NHS does not oppose the private sector making money off patients' needs.

The evening was meant to showcase "union friendly" Labour candidates but it showed Labour is not a party for working people.

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In The Socialist 5 March 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Pay us a living wage now!

Need for new mass workers' party is undeniable

Government condemns millions to housing misery

NHS in crisis: Stop Hunt's hospital closure plans

Fight the government's vicious sanctions regime

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Ukraine crisis: Ruling elites foster division and conflict

Northern Ireland rocked by 'on the runs' crisis


International Women's Day

The miners' strike changed women's lives


Socialist Party workplace news

Determined Doncaster care workers in 7-day strike

Wales: Unison branch challenges Labour with no-cuts budget

Support strike action against legal aid cuts

Leeds council workers discuss cuts fightback

Train drivers vote for action at Northern Rail

Cleaners strike at London college


Readers' comments and reviews

Nigeria's battle for a mass workers' party

Letter of protest to the BBC

Union question time - Labour has no answers


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Action against vicious council cuts

Police spying ends lives - end it!

Fighting youth low pay (and security bullies)

Calderdale and Huddersfield: People ready to defend A&Es

Barton Moss protesters say no to fracking

Oppose the EDL in Worcester


 

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Atos:

triangleEnd "poverty, ill health and despair":a benefits adviser speaks out against the cuts

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