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TUSC councillors lay down fight-back challenge to Labour - who wave white flag in reply

Southampton Councillors Against Cuts, Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, photo Southampton TUSC

Southampton Councillors Against Cuts, Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, photo Southampton TUSC

Posted: 26 November 2013

After Southampton's council services have suffered £57 million cuts since 2010 the new Labour council (elected in 2012) has announced a further £60 million cuts to come over the next three years.

Last week's council meeting was the last before councillors vote for the council budget in February next year. Southampton Councillors Against Cuts, Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, members of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, went to the meeting to urge Labour councillors to reject the cuts agenda and launch a mass campaign to fight central government for the funding the city needs. Through using reserves and borrowing powers to fund the budget gap, as Keith and Don put forward at this year's budget-setting meeting, it would be entirely possible to protect jobs and services. By refusing to implement the cuts the council would give a lead and build the mass support needed that could force a weak and unpopular government into retreat.

Moving their resolution (printed below) Keith said:

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TUSC launched in Derby - and second public meeting organised

Posted: 25 November 2013

A meeting of trade unionists, socialists, anti-cuts and environmental campaigners met in Derby last week (19 November) to launch the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and discuss plans to stand across the city in the 2014 local elections.

A second public meeting has been organised in Sinfin on Wednesday 27th November at the Sinfin Moor Social Club, Areleston Lane, Sinfin, Derby, DE24 3DH, from 7.30pm till 9pm. One of the speakers will be Dorothy Skrytek, a member of the campaign against the Sinfin incineration plant and the Friends of the Earth.

The November 19 meeting was addressed by Harry Smith, a former Labour councillor who was part of the socialist Liverpool city council between 1983-87. Along with 46 other councillors, Harry set a budget based on what the city needed to provide jobs and services and built a campaign to demand more money from the Thatcher government. Harry described that whilst other Labour councils were passing on cuts, Liverpool built houses, swimming pools, parks and created more jobs. This shows what a council can do if it is prepared to fight.

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Housing 4 All campaigner Isabel Counihan-Sanchez standing for TUSC in Brent 2014 local elections

Housing 4 All campaigner Isabel Counihan-Sanchez and famiily, photo by Brent TUSC

Housing 4 All campaigner Isabel Counihan-Sanchez and famiily, photo by Brent TUSC

Posted: 21 November 2013

Brent mother of five Isabel Counihan Sanchez, who along with a dedicated group of supporters, has been fighting attempts to force her family out of Brent, has now decided to stand for election in next year's local elections as a Brent Trade Union and Socialist Coalition candidate.

Isabel and family were made homeless in April 2012 when their benefits were dramatically cut by Brent council and they were evicted from rented accommodation. Despite her husband Anthony working full-time as a bus driver the family were still reliant on these benefits to pay the staggering rent of £690.00 per week for their home in Kilburn. After being evicted they were placed in temporary accommodation in Ealing with an UN-affordable rent of £500.00 per week.

This put the family under tremendous pressures because the accommodation was totally unsuitable due to lack of space. Sarah, A.J, Orla & Aiden were faced with long treks to school as far as Kenton (Brent) and their youngest son, Vinny, who is Autistic was also put under tremendous pressure being completely disorientated by the changes. Added to this they were removed from their local network of family and friends.

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One hundred people attend Hackney TUSC film showing and discussion

Hackney TUSC 2014 candidates , photo by Hackney TUSC

Hackney TUSC 2014 candidates , photo by Hackney TUSC

Posted: 12 November 2013

Hackney and Islington Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) organised a very successful showing of the film, 'Riot from Wrong', at the local Rio cinema last Saturday.

Around 100 people attended the event which included the film showing and a panel discussion, with speakers from a number of youth groups including Day-Mer Youth, Voice of Youth (Hackney), and Long Live the South Bank, and chaired by a Youth Fight For Jobs campaign representative.

Over a dozen prospective TUSC candidates for next year's local elections in Hackney and Islington were also presented to the audience (see photo).

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TUSC announces candidate after Liverpool deputy mayor and cuts hatchet man resigns

Posted: 6 November 2013

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is delighted to announce that John Marston is TUSC's candidate to challenge for the Riverside council seat vacated by the deputy mayor and leading Labour Party cuts hatchet man, Paul Brant.

John Marston, veteran socialist, life-long trade unionist and seasoned campaigner, will fight for the Riverside council seat made vacant by Paul Brant's resignation.

Unlike Paul Brant John will campaign for an end to all cuts, and for the immediate end to the evil bedroom tax. He will demand that the council declares it has no intention of penalising those who cannot afford the bedroom tax.

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Posted: 6 November 2013


Nancy Taaffe, Socialist Party member and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate said: "Boris Johnsons' increase of 25p on the London Living Wage to £8.55 per hour is an insult to hard working Londoners. The fact that politicians in London think that this will be enough to live on shows how completely out of touch they are with working class people. The London Living Wage can be opted in and out of by employers as they see fit. A paltry 200 employers have signed up to the living wage since it was introduced in 2005. This means that just 11,500 actually benefit from it.

"To actually work, any measures on addressing low wages have be mandatory. This means that the politicians have to stand up to big business rather than governing in their interests as they do now. We say that employers should be forced to pay a living wage rather than offered a tax break to do so. Of course small companies that genuinely need support should get it. But big companies that refuse should be taken into public ownership.

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TUSC stands candidates in twelve council by-elections in next five weeks

Posted: 5 November 2013

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is contesting by-elections in twelve wards in ten different councils over the next five weeks.

This week (November 7th) sees by-elections in the Bootle Derby ward of Sefton council on Merseyside and two contests in Nottingham, in the city council's Dales and Radford & Park wards. TUSC's Bootle candidate is Graham Woodhouse, the secretary of the PCS civil service union Highways Agency North West branch and a member of PCS Department for Transport Group Executive Committee. In Nottingham TUSC is represented by Unite member Cathy Meadows, standing in the Dales ward, and GMB union member Geraint Thomas, standing in Radford & Park (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/16848/16-10-2013/nottingham-tusc-announces-candidates-for-two-city-council-by-elections )

A week later, on November 14th, TUSC is standing in the Baddeley, Milton & Norton by-election in Stoke, with Unite member Liat Norris carrying the TUSC anti-cuts banner in a crowded ten-candidate contest (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/16850/22-10-2013/stoke-on-trent-by-election-to-have-a-real-anti-cuts-candidate )

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Warrington rebel councillor's living wage move blocked by Labour

Posted: 31 October 2013

Hugh Caffrey, north-west Socialist Party

In the latest anti-democratic twist by Warrington's Labour leadership, a serious proposal for paying the Living Wage as a minimum to council staff was blocked before it could go to a full council meeting.

Rebel anti-cuts councillor Kevin Bennett, suspended from the Labour group for opposing cuts to services, had prepared costed proposals on how the Living Wage could be paid to Warrington council's workforce.

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Stoke-on-Trent by-election to have a real anti-cuts candidate

Posted: 22 October 2013

Unite member Liat Norris is standing as the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) anti-cuts candidate in the Stoke-on-Trent council by-election taking place on 14 November in the Baddeley, Milton and Norton ward of the city.

Liat was chosen following a public meeting that took place in the ward at Norton Working Mens Club after thousands of leaflets had previously been given out across the ward advertising the event. In order to ensure that the best possible anti-cuts candidate was selected the TUSC leaflets stated: "We already have people with an excellent record of campaigning against cuts locally who want to stand as the TUSC candidate on 14 November. But we want to ensure we have the best possible anti-cuts candidate to represent people who live across the ward.

"So if you are a local trade unionist, socialist or community campaigner and would like to be considered as the TUSC anti-cuts candidate in this by election then please call or text 07845-893607".

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Help us fight for local jobs and services in Bootle in the Sefton council by-election

Posted: 20 October 2013

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing the PCS trade unionist Graham Woodhouse in the Sefton council by-election in the borough's Derby ward on 7th November.

Graham's election agent, Pete Glover, a member of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) National Executive committee for Merseyside and Cheshire (personal capacity), has issued the following appeal for support:

Dear brothers and sisters,

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Nottingham TUSC announces candidates for two city council by-elections

Posted: 16 October 2013

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing in the Nottingham city council by-elections on 7th November on a clear platform against the bedroom tax and all cuts to jobs, services and benefits.

Due to the resignation of two councillors for health reasons, there will be by-elections in the Dales and Radford & Park wards. TUSC will be contesting these as an alternative to the three main parties.

TUSC says:

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TUSC steering committee sets timetable for 2014 local elections campaign

Posted: 15 October 2013

AS GEORGE Osborne announced a further 10% cut in council funding for 2015-16 in this summer's public spending review, Tory Party chairman, Grant Shapps, ridiculed councillors for the 'good work' they were doing in "cutting their cloth more intelligently".

"When we said [in 2010] we would reduce their budgets by 26% over four years, we were told councils would be going bust by this stage" but they haven't, he mocked. "I think they can do another 10%". (The Guardian, 26 June 2013) There couldn't be a clearer answer to the idea that councils should accept the cuts in the hope that things will get better in the future. The dismantling of local public services will continue in the age of austerity unless we have trade unionists, socialists and working class community campaigners as councillors who are prepared to fight back.

Shapps' claim that council services aren't really 'cash-strapped' is, of course, completely untrue. Recent research from the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity shows that six out of ten councils are now commissioning 15-minute maximum home care visits for elderly and disabled people, with the number of such visits rising by 15% since 2008. Meanwhile the number of people who got any council-funded support in their own homes fell from 958,000 in 2009-10 to 802,000 in 2011-12.

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Warrington rebel councillor's appeal: 'Don't vote for cuts'

Posted: 3 October 2013

THE WARRINGTON rebel councillor Kevin Bennett, who was suspended from the Labour Party earlier this year for voting against cuts, has issued an Open Letter to Labour councillors in the North West as council budgets for 2014-15 begin to be discussed.

As Kevin says in his letter, councillors don't have to carry out the Con-Dems cuts. This February the Southampton rebel councillors, Keith Morrell and Don Thomas (now members of the TUSC national Steering Committee) presented an alternative budget to their council's budget-making meeting. Their proposals met the legal requirements of a balanced budget at least for the 2013-14 financial year - it was not a 'deficit budget'. Scandalously, however, the Labour councillors refused to even allow it to be debated (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/press180213.php ).

But the fact was they had a choice - councillors don't have to vote for cuts.

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Fleetwood TUSC candidate gets 27 percent in town council by-election

Posted: 1 October 2013

THE Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate Ray Smith won 27% of the vote in last Thursday's by-election for the Rossall ward of Fleetwood Town council in Lancashire.

GMB union member Ray stood to oppose the Tory-Liberal government destroying public services and led a campaign to keep the local hospital open. Ray used to be a Labour councillor (from 1995-1999) but joined TUSC because Labour was not defending working and vulnerable people.

As one of Ray's supporters said to TUSC election campaigners: "There's a lot of anxiety at the savage attack on people living in poverty, with disabilities, in fact all vulnerable people, by the Coalition government. I feel so disillusioned that Ed Miliband is not standing up for us or challenging David Cameron on his attack on the poor. Amnesty have condemned the Coalition for their attack on the disabled. Why can't Ed Miliband?"

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Time for a new party to represent the trade unions, says ex-Labour MP

Posted: 11 September 2013

FOLLOWING ON from Ed Miliband's speech at the TUC on Tuesday ex-Labour MP Dave Nellist, now chairperson of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), said: "I've spoken to TUC delegates who told me that the room was so quiet during Miliband's speech you could hear the penny dropping for many more trade union members.

"Ed Miliband has proven time and again that he does not want the Labour Party to represent organised workers within the trade union movement - and his policies don't represent the interests of the workers and their families. Only last week Labour were forced to admit that there was no grounds for the suspension of trade union members in Falkirk - but that hasn't stopped Labour pouncing on these events to further divorce the unions from the party they set up.

"The GMB cut their funding to Labour to represent the numbers who took part in the Labour leadership contest - a cut of nearly 90%. This shows that there is no enthusiasm for continuing the link with Labour.

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Do we need a new party to reflect the working people of Britain?

Guardian 9 September 2013

Guardian 9 September 2013

Posted: 10 September 2013

Do we need a new party to reflect the working people of Britain? As Labour prepares for a bruising clash with the unions, could a left-wing UKIP become a reality? asks The Guardian's John Harris at http://www. theguardian.com /politics/2013/ sep/09/ time-for-leftwing-ukip-labour

The Guardian, 9 September 2013

Ever since the general election of 2010, British politics has been in a very curious state of flux. Public mistrust in politicians runs rampant. After one inconclusive contest, the idea that neither Labour nor the Tories will have a majority of seats in 2015 is now common currency. What will happen to the Lib Dems is uncertain: they will almost certainly be thumped at the ballot box, but could once again hold the balance of power. Next year sees both the Scottish referendum on independence, and the European elections that might see Ukip finishing first.

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Another step forward for TUSC as 'rebel councillors' join the steering committee

Posted: 7 September 2013

THE Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, meeting this week after the summer break, made a special welcome for two new members, the Southampton 'rebel councillors' Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, who were expelled from the Labour Party last year for opposing council cuts.

Don was elected as a councillor for Southampton's Coxford ward in 2007 and re-elected in 2011 (having first stood as a Labour candidate in the area in 2002).

Keith joined him on the council in 2010, having also previously been a Southampton council candidate for Labour from 2006. Both members of Unite, their record in the labour movement is exemplary.

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Ex-Labour councillor selected to fight for TUSC in Fleetwood contest

Posted: 23 August 2013

Former Labour councillor Ray Smith has been selected as prospective candidate by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) to fight the forthcoming town council by-election in the Rossall ward of Fleetwood, Lancashire on 26 September.

Despite the best efforts of some in the area (see below), Ray forced the election to be called after a sitting town councillor resigned.

GMB union member Ray is standing to oppose this Tory-Liberal government destroying our public services.

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TUSC polls 9.7% in Caerphilly council by-election

Posted: 4 August 2013

TRADE UNIONIST and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate Jaime Davies polled a very creditable 9.7% share of the vote in last Thursday's by-election for the Penyrheol division of Caerphilly council.

Plaid Cymru won the by-election with 929 votes, increasing its share of the vote compared to when the seat was last contested in May 2012, but saw its actual vote fall by 432, as turnout slumped to 20%.

Labour was second with 554 votes - 520 votes down on May 2012 and with a 5% reduced share - while the Tories came in last, behind TUSC, with 135 votes.

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Fourth place for TUSC, ahead of the Tories and UKIP, in Lambeth council by-election

Posted: 27 July 2013

THURSDAY 25th July saw a council by-election in the Tulse Hill ward of the south London borough of Lambeth.

Labour retained the seat with 69% of the vote, increasing the gap between them and the Liberal Democrats (on 12%), whose vote share fell from 28% at the last full council elections in May 2010.

Third place on Thursday went to the Greens with 177 votes (7.7%) - but this didn't represent an increase in their support.

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