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'Enough is enough': Another rebel councillor links up with TUSC to fight austerity

Kevin Bennett speaks at the TUSC conference, January 24, photo Senan

Kevin Bennett speaks at the TUSC conference, January 24, photo Senan

Posted: 29 January 2015

Kevin Bennett, Warrington's rebel Labour councillor, has announced he has reached the end of the road in trying to fight austerity as part of the Labour Party. His announcement was carried in the local Warrington Guardian, under the headline, 'Enough is enough' (see http://bit.ly/1K7nqYn )

Kevin was indefinitely suspended by the council Labour group in April 2013 after voting against the council's cuts budget. A 70-strong lobby of trade unionists and community campaigners took place outside the suspension meeting in support of Kevin's courageous stand.

Kevin explained at the time that "the cuts are hitting my ward badly, I'm getting calls and emails from people asking me to help them but I feel my hands are tied.

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TUSC call to media (and the Greens): why not a 'minor parties' debate?

Posted: 22 January 2015

Steve Bell's Guardian cartoon on the party leaders' TV election debate row that flared up in the New Year was typically pointed. It depicted the four austerity party leaders in a line - Cameron, Farage, Clegg and Miliband - with the Greens, in a dig at Cameron's previous 'cut the green crap' comments, an unpleasant presence for them all (see gu.com/p/44q9f/tw).

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Come to the 2015 TUSC conference

TUSC conference 2015

Posted: 14 January 2015

See more details about the conference here

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Nellist calls for City Link nationalisation

Posted: 29 December 2014

The leader of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), former Coventry MP Dave Nellist, has today called for government intervention to save City Link jobs, saying the company should be nationalised.

The courier firm, City Link, whose headquarters are in Coventry, went into administration on Christmas Day putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Mr Nellist said today:

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More TUSC candidates in place as election challenge grows

Posted: 19 December 2014

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee approved another tranche of parliamentary candidates at its December meeting. Along with the seven candidates agreed so far by the Scottish TUSC steering committee, there are now 32 TUSC candidates in place for next May.

The new round of TUSC parliamentary candidates approved included Tony Mulhearn, standing in Liverpool's Riverside constituency. Tony, one of the Liverpool 47 Labour councillors who defied the Thatcher government in the 1980s, polled 4,792 votes for TUSC in Liverpool's mayoral election in 2012, coming in ahead of both the Tories and UKIP. Also contesting a Liverpool parliamentary seat for TUSC is the Unite union convenor for the city council, Dave Walsh, standing in Liverpool Wavertree.

There are two trade union national executive committee (NEC) members in the new candidates' list, with the National Union of Teachers' (NUT) executive member Anne Lemon contesting Bristol North West, and Unison NEC member Jacqui Berry standing in Gillingham and Rainham. This north Kent constituency is next door to the Rochester and Strood seat of UKIP MP Mark Reckless - in May he will be challenged on behalf of TUSC by the local RMT branch Young Members Officer, Dan Burn.

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TUSC supporters meet for North West conference

Posted: 8 December 2014

Over 40 people crammed into TUSC's North West regional conference on Saturday 22 November, to map out plans for TUSC over the next year.

Trade unionists, students, community campaigners, socialists and activists from across the region contributed to the discussions.

The former Liverpool Labour city councillor Tony Mulhearn, recently selected to fight Liverpool Riverside at the general election for TUSC, introduced the first discussion. "A madness is infecting politics", said Tony, in the vacuum created by no mass voice for working-class people, and expressed in the rise of UKIP, the return of fraudster minister Laws to political prominence, while unions like the PCS face a massive assault on their basic right to organise.

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Scottish TUSC sets out plans for 2015 elections

Posted: 3 December 2014

The Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) steering committee is meeting in early December to get down to details on plans for the 2015 Westminster elections. This follows a successful 70-strong conference in November of Scottish TUSC to discuss the way forward following the independence referendum.

Despite the huge working class vote in the referendum for Yes, which was a revolt against austerity and the political establishment, the cuts juggernaut has continued. That's why the conference voted unanimously to stand candidates in the 2015 Westminster elections on an uncompromising anti-cuts platform

In the days running up to the conference a series of shocking reports emerged about the scale of the planned cuts to public services in Scotland.

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Anti-cuts People's Budget planning under way in Leicester

A conference workshop gets down to details, photo Ambrose Musiyiwa

Posted: 20 November 2014

On the last weekend in October around 60 people gathered to participate in Leicester's first ever People's Budget conference.

The event was organised by Leicester Independent Councillors Against Cuts - Barbara Potter and Wayne Naylor - alongside TUSC. The two councillors left Labour this year to join TUSC's alliance of trade union and anti-cuts groups.

As Barbara told the conference, "Leaving the Labour Party was a big thing. All my family have always voted Labour. They're no longer the party who stick up for ordinary people. We all need to stick together - the People's Budget marks an opportunity to create something new".

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Local lobbying of Labour MPs stepped up as TUSC candidate selections get under way

Posted: 12 November 2014

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, meeting this week, has approved the first eight parliamentary candidates for next May's general election.

At the same time, as part of building support for standing a TUSC candidate, more TUSC groups are organising open letters and delegations to challenge their local Labour Party parliamentary candidate on where they stand on key issues, before a decision is made on whether the seat will be part of the TUSC 2015 election campaign.

The first TUSC parliamentary candidates approved include the former Labour MP and TUSC national chairperson Dave Nellist, who will stand in the Coventry North West constituency presently held by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson, a multi-millionaire former businessman and one of the wealthiest MPs in the current parliament.

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Media round-up: local coverage for TUSC candidates and a letter on Russell Brand

Posted: 30 October 2014

The selection of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) prospective candidates for next year's elections has given local TUSC groups opportunities to get some media coverage in their area.

The Portsmouth News covered a 40-strong meeting, with national TUSC chair Dave Nellist in attendance, which announced the selection of candidates to contest the city's two parliamentary constituencies next May (see http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/local/party-picks-two-candidates-for-elections-in-may-1-6363224 ).

The prospective TUSC candidate for Portsmouth North is Jon Woods, president of Portsmouth Trades Council and chair of the council's UNISON branch. Portsmouth South will be fought for TUSC by the former RMT transport workers' union executive committee member, Sean Hoyle.

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Rebel councillors: something brewing in Barking?

Posted: 22 October 2014

Hundreds of low paid Barking and Dagenham council workers facing a £2,000 cut to their annual income protested outside Barking town hall on Tuesday 7 October, reports Pete Mason, who stood as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) local election candidate in the borough back in May.

Joining them were a number of Labour councillors who face suspension from the Labour whip and potential expulsion from the Labour Group if they carry through their declared intention to vote against the proposed cuts at the 1st December full council meeting. Labour took all 51 seats on Barking and Dagenham council (in east London) in May's election.

Refuse collectors parked their dustbin lorries in a long line outside the town hall and hooted their horns. The GMB and Unite members and the protesting councillors then marched into the public gallery, where deputy leader of the council, Dominic Twomey, told the cabinet meeting that the council needs to cut £53 million during the next three years. Some council workers fear losing their homes if their income is cut by £2,000, GMB activists say. The borough already has the highest level of repossessions in London. Further cuts proposed include closing care and homeless centres.

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TUSC sets target of 100 parliamentary and 1,000 council candidates in May 2015

Posted: 6 October 2014

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, meeting last week, has set an ambitious target for next year's elections - to have a TUSC candidate in one thousand local council wards and one hundred parliamentary constituencies on May 7th 2015.

One thing is clear about the outcome of the 2015 general election. Whichever establishment party or combination of parties wins, they will continue with policies favouring the rich and austerity for the rest of us.

That's why TUSC was set up in 2010, co-founded by the late Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport workers' union. Its purpose is to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to come together on a common platform to challenge the pro-austerity unity of the establishment parties at the ballot box.

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TUSC in the thick of it - well, at least in the Guardian

Posted: 29 September 2014

Thanks are due to Ian Martin, one of the writers of the savage political satire The Thick of It, for his recent article in the Guardian from this year's Labour Party conference (see http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/23/ian-martin-labour-conference-thick-of-it ).

Firstly because he uses his piece to explain once again - if not exactly in Malcolm Tucker terms but near enough - just how spineless the alleged 'official opposition' to the Con-Dems have become. But also, in pondering what possible alternatives there might be, for name-checking TUSC and one of our co-founders, in Ian's words, "the late great Bob Crow".

TUSC chair Dave Nellist sent in a letter to the Guardian to let its readers know that TUSC is intending to stand even more widely next May - for both the general and the local elections - than we did this year, when we fielded the biggest-ever left-of-Labour working class electoral challenge for 60 years (see http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/24/labour-conference-message-offers-left-little-hope ).

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Guardian article confirms TUSC policy: councils can resist austerity if they choose

Posted: 4 September 2014

A recent article by Guardian journalist Aditya Chakrobortty on the efforts of Enfield council to respond to the housing crisis (see http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/sep/01/enfield-experiment-housing-problem-radical-solution ) vindicates the central point of TUSC's policy platform for local council elections - councillors can find ways to resist austerity if they choose to.

Aditya explains the desperate housing situation developing in the north London borough - although not restricted to there! - against the backdrop of an historic underbuild of social housing, the Con-Dems' benefit cuts, and rising private sector rents.

He shows that councils still have powers they could use, if the will is there, to intervene. Enfield, he reports, "has arranged a credit facility of £100m" to bulk-buy homes, in a programme began in March this year. It is introducing a scheme to license private landlords and, "for the first time in 30 years, it is building council homes", with 180 starts this month as the first steps.

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Rebel Plymouth councillor speaks at TUSC-organised meeting in Moor View

Posted: 1 September 2014

Plymouth councillor Alison Casey will be speaking on Wednesday 3rd September at the first of a series of TUSC-hosted meetings across the city to draw up 'A Peoples Charter for Plymouth' as an alternative to the establishment parties' austerity policies.

Alison, a councillor for Moor View ward, will be explaining why she left the Labour Party and how she will now be better able to serve the community as an independent.

Also speaking at the 'Have your Say' public meeting, starting at 7pm at the Estover Youth Centre, Torbridge High School, will be Senior Youth Worker Nathan Cole, who will be talking about Estover Youth Club and the work of the Youth Service. Local community groups like Friends of Miller Way have also been invited to speak about their campaigns and activities.

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Local TUSC groups campaigning: summer round up

July 2014. The East London Save Our Surgeries campaign lobby Hackney council, supported by the local TUSC branch

July 2014. The East London Save Our Surgeries campaign lobby Hackney council, supported by the local TUSC branch

Posted: 15 August 2014

Local Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) groups haven't had too much time for a summer break this year, with campaigning continuing throughout July and August.

The decision of two city councillors to join with TUSC made the headlines in the Leicester Mercury (see http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Ex-Labour-councillors-join-anti-cuts-alliance/story-21444308-detail/story.html ). The paper reported that, in linking up with TUSC, Barbara Potter and Wayne Naylor "will take a firm stance against further budget reductions and will be pushing for the council to adopt a zero cuts budget in the future".

This provoked a typical reaction from the ruling Labour group that "it would be impossible to halt the cuts to services given reductions in grants from Whitehall". But that was completely different to the great response Barbara and Wayne received from public sector workers when they explained their anti-cuts stand at the July 10th strike Fair Pay Rally in Leicester.

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Leicester anti-cuts councillors join up with TUSC

Councillors Wayne Naylor and Barbara Potter

Councillors Wayne Naylor and Barbara Potter

Posted: 9 July 2014

TWO LEICESTER anti-cuts councillors this week agreed to join up with the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the ever-widening fight against the establishment parties and their austerity policies.

Ex-Labour councillors Barbara Potter and Wayne Naylor, who will sit on the council as the Leicester Independent Councillors Against Cuts group, will now be a constituent part of the Leicester TUSC steering committee, alongside the Socialist Party, the SWP and prominent trade unionists in the city.

In a press statement announcing their decision to link up with TUSC, the councillors explained that while they were in the Labour Party they were loyal because they feared the alternative of letting the Tories in. But they were hampered in their aims of defending their local constituents and both now feel that they can do that better outside the Labour Party - and that the time had come to build something new both locally but also on a national level.

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Fight anti-union laws in the workplace and the ballot box

TUSC supports the Trade Union Rights and Freedom Bill, photo Paul Mattsson

Posted: 8 July 2014

As over a million public sector workers were preparing for J10, Michael Gove followed Boris Johnson and other right-wing Tories to demand tighter new rules for strike ballots, which they believe would put an end to virtually all public sector strikes.

The Daily Mail reported that if the Tories win the 2015 general election that a strike could only take place if it was supported by a majority of the entire membership of the union in the sector concerned voting Yes in a postal ballot.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national chairperson Dave Nellist, who was an opposition member of parliament thirty years ago when Tories Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit first introduced postal ballot requirements, comments:

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RMT conference unanimously votes to continue support for TUSC

Posted: 27 June 2014

THE ANNUAL conference (annual general meeting) of the RMT transport workers' union, meeting this week in Bristol, has voted to continue the union's participation in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). The following resolution was agreed unanimously by the conference delegates:

"This AGM congratulates all those RMT members who stood in the May 2014 local elections as Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates.

"Thirty-five RMT members stood for TUSC in the London Transport Region with 53 RMT members standing as TUSC candidates overall.

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