Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/852/20539
Why I'm standing:
Fighting local government cuts
TUSC Croydon Central constituency candidate April Ashley is a Unison national executive member and assistant branch secretary for Southwark Unison local government (standing for TUSC in a personal capacity). April spoke to the Socialist.
Why are you standing for TUSC?
I'm standing because of the cuts in local government and how it affects our members, especially around the questions of job losses and pay.
I represent low paid school teaching assistants who haven't had a decent pay rise for quite a few years. Most of them have two jobs. Many have to get pay day loans to get by. Many could have been Labour voters, but Labour in local government has cut jobs and services. Around 600 posts have gone in Labour-controlled Southwark.
The local government association is Labour-led, yet they want us to only have a 1% pay rise following years of pay freezes.
We know that Labour's going to stick to the Tory spending cuts - we don't think anything will change under a Labour government. I'm standing to show an alternative - to fight austerity.
How have the cuts affected your work?
I work in adult social care. That's been basically ripped apart. The cuts have been massive. When we commission new services we have to try to get it at a cheaper and cheaper rate. That has an impact on people employed in the service and on the service users.
It will continue to get hit in the years to come - the council is likely to stop some services and they'll be looking at how many people qualify for those that remain.
They've only set a budget for the next year so we don't know what's going to happen in the following years. There's going to be more cuts whoever gets in to government.
The council says it is going to implement the ethical care charter - including having slots longer than 15 minutes, being paid for travel time, and no zero-hour contracts - but how will they do that at the same time as making more cuts? We say bring all care back in house - but Labour won't.
How does standing as a TUSC candidate relate to your position on the Unison executive as a black members' representative?
Unison has done studies which have shown that cuts have disproportionately affected black women, for example, cuts to children's services and social care.
Surveys have shown that redundancies have mostly affected black women. I've highlighted that - and that the only way to fight this is by fighting all of the cuts.
- Don't miss the TUSC election broadcast on 17 April on BBC2 at 5.55pm, ITV at 6.25pm, BBC1 at 6.55pm, and Channel 4 at 7.55pm
- See the BBC's report of the TUSC manifesto launch at bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32254035
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral alliance involving the RMT transport union, the Socialist Party, other socialist groups and leading members of other trade unions. This May TUSC is standing 135 candidates in the general election and 619 in the local elections.
In The Socialist 15 April 2015:
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