Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Appeal to Cardiff's Labour By-Election Candidate

Cardiff TUSC wrote the following letter to Caro Wild, Labour's candidate for the Riverside By-Election in Cardiff. The election will be held immediately after the Labour leadership election.

To: Caro Wild, candidate for the Labour Party for Riverside, Cardiff

Re: Meeting with local trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners

Dear Caro Wild,

We are writing to you as a council candidate to ask how we can build on Jeremy Corbyn’s call for councils to stand together and refuse to implement government cuts.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), co-founded by the late Bob Crow, is determined that working class people should not pay for a crisis that we did not cause, and we are happy to work together with Labour representatives who take the same stance.
We believe that Jeremy Corbyn is right to highlight the potential that councils have to resist austerity.  Councils still control budgets totalling billions of pounds and have more financial powers than is commonly realised.  TUSC has a core policy platform for local councils which can be found on our website at http://www.tusc.org.uk/policy.
No cuts budgets
In the last couple of years TUSC has worked with councillors in Southampton, Hull and Leicester to present legally compliant no cuts budgets to the annual budget-making meeting.  Based on the use of reserves and councils’ borrowing powers, they were designed in each case to buy time for the council to organise a broad public campaign to compel the government to restore its funding.  Unfortunately, on each occasion, the alternative budgets were rejected by the majority Labour groups.
One reason for doing so was that each council Labour group felt itself to be facing the government’s cuts on its own.  But surely that wouldn’t be the case now, if Jeremy Corbyn is elected Labour leader?  TUSC believes that in the new situation opened up by a likely Jeremy Corbyn victory, there really is no reason why Labour councils and the Welsh government should not combine together and refuse to implement the Tories’ brutal austerity agenda.
That is why we would like to seek your view about the possibilities of joint action against austerity, based on our council joining with others to present no-cuts budgets at the budget-making meetings in early 2016.
We are writing to you to ask for your pledge to vote against any cuts to jobs and services if elected. The ward you will represent is one that feels the housing crisis most severely, which is why we’re also writing for your assurance that you will call for the Council to adopt a no-evictions policy for those tipped over the edge by the bedroom tax, and your pledge to call on the Welsh Assembly to take the Scottish Road and scrap the bedroom tax in Wales, abolish upfront fees for tenants and introduce rent control to lower rents.
There is a desperate and international searching for an end to the failed policies of austerity.
Hoping that you will join with us in building that alternative,
Dave Bartlett, Secretary
Steve Williams, Chair

Cardiff Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Anticuts Campaigners Should Unite and Stand Against The Austerity Parties in Elections

Ross Saunders,Secretary of Cardiff Against The Cuts and TUSC candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth

Austerity has been brutal, and, as many made clear in the People's Assembly meeting last Thursday, we've had enough of it.

But how can we defeat it? How can we put an alternative onto the agenda?

There is agony in society, but there is even more coming our way, whoever wins the next election. 

And not only has Labour refused to reverse the funding cuts, the party plans to make more: all but five Labour MPs voted with the Tories and Liberals last month for another £30 billion cuts to welfare and public services. (UKIP wants £35 billion.) Although Labour has been forced by protests to pledge to scrap the bedroom tax - one of the most hated of the ConDem's attacks on the vulnerable - benefits spokesperson Rachel Reeves has promised to be "tougher than the Tories" on benefit claimants.

The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have pledged to help Miliband carry out this programme if Labour doesn't have a majority of its own. Those parties are also currently implementing austerity at council level. There are many good activists currently attracted to them but, because they're not rooted in working-class communities and organisations, and because they accept the status quo of big business dominating our economy, when tested they do what capitalism wants them to do, even though refusing to carry out cuts is essential if the Welsh language is to get the support it needs and if we're going to tackle climate change.

We should fight the attacks with every fibre and with our last breath, in every way possible. That's why I believe the anti-austerity movement is making a big mistake if we don't gather our forces, organise them, unite and stand our own candidates in elections.

As things stand we come together to decry the brutality of austerity on protests and rallies, but when it comes to elections we are spread thinly across several parties. We can make a big impact on marches and demonstrations, but our energy and influence is dissipated at election time because our forces are divided and diverted, and in a direction that props up austerity and the parties that support it. Ironically, many of us are anti-cuts campaigners planning to vote for pro-cuts parties next month. That's why they get away with it: because we haven't resolved that contradiction by founding our own party.

Some people will be worried about letting the Tories in. But it is precisely the absence of a party that would fight for all ordinary working-class people that is strengthening the Tories. After five years of brutal cuts, any real opposition party should be leagues ahead in the polls. But the Tories' divide-and-rule tactics, turning low-paid workers against benefit claimants, the old against the young, native against immigrant, are still working because there is no party credibly promising to improve living standards for all ordinary people. In any case, without such a party we will get Tory policies whoever forms the government.

Of course it's not true that we should wait for the creation of an anticuts party before fighting the cuts. It's not true either that we can't win any concessions until we do: nationally the Coalition has been a coalition of u-turns. And locally, in the five years that I've been Secretary of Cardiff Against The Cuts I've fought alongside campaigners who have stopped the closure of primary schools, playcentres, libraries, youth clubs, swimming pools and many other facilities.


This year Cardiff Council was forced to back off from more cuts than ever before, and more than anywhere else in Wales. Building the protests was key to this, but so was the threat many campaigners made to stand as anticuts candidates, independently of the main parties but linked up with one another. What happened this year in Cardiff is proof that, if you're aim is to pull Labour to the left, the best way of doing that is to drag them to the left from the outside. But what this year also shows is that protesting isn't enough - Cardiff Labour Council still got away with making another £41 million of cuts to services. To stop the cuts we must continue to march, protest and strike together, but we need to take a stand in elections together too.

There are 135 candidates in the General Election this year who have committed to that project, including in a third of the seats in Wales. They're linking up through the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, known as the "Coalition Against The Cuts." They're all community campaigners or trade unionists who have experience standing up for their community and workmates, and ALL of them would make better representatives than the politicians we confront in our campaigning work.

But so would many of the people reading this article. TUSC is standing to broadcast the idea of building a new party out of the anti-austerity movement. If you want to find out more about that project, or get involved, or help us fight this election, get in touch with me at Wales.TUSC@gmail.com. Or come to the meeting at 730pm on Tuesday 5th May in the Holiday Inn on Westgate Street. It's time to stop buying the bullets for the firing squad aiming at us, lending our votes to parties that are demanding we pay for the recession instead of the billionaires who caused it.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Standing up for Further Education against Welsh Government Cuts

Yesterday (22 April) staff and students - organised by the Joint Trade Unions representing FE workers - in Welsh Colleges took part in protests against Welsh Government cuts to Further Education.

Early reports are that the events were well supported all across Wales, which fits with my experience in Gower College Swansea. At Gorseinon, where I work, the joint trade unions put out a call for people to gather at 1pm at the main gate and workers and students responded enthusiastically.

There was an upbeat atmosphere but a quiet determination to stand up for the broad range of quality learning and training opportunities we provide, particularly for adult education, which is seeing a 50% cut in funding in a single year!

The range of chances for adult learners in our communities, that colleges provide, will be seriously reduced if these cuts go through and where learners can find courses they could be much more expensive as colleges have to pass on the full cost price to learners. This is likely to price many out of education and training. Has the Welsh Government abandoned the principle of 'lifelong learning' in its willingness to pass on Con-Dem cuts?

Workers and students were clear what they think of Welsh Labour cuts to Further Education, summed up in the placard made by one lecturer - betrayal! Next Wednesday (29 April) we take our protests to the Welsh Government's doorstep as we demand they reconsider and give us the resources we need to deliver the high quality education we're proud of.

TUSC, as the only 100% anti-austerity party contesting the election on May 7th stands shoulder to shoulder with all those standing up for Further Education.

Ronnie Job, TUSC candidate Swansea West

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Oppose Welsh Government cuts to Further Education as well as Con-Dem ones

A response to an email from a constituent about opposing FE cuts..

Thank you for your email. I am happy to sign the petition but I notice it only refers to English FE cuts.

Unfortunately the Welsh Government, with its willingness to pass on Con-Dem cuts is also making deep cuts to Further Education, particularly adult education.

I am a Unison steward in a college in Wales. On Wednesday (April 22) I am urging my members to join the lunchtime gate protests that are taking place in colleges across Wales against Welsh Government cuts to Further Education.

The following Wednesday (29 April) trade unionists from colleges around Wales will be lobbying the Assembly to Hal these cuts. Hopefully students will also join us.

These Welsh Government cuts are not only a threat to the jobs and conditions of my union members and workmates but also to the opportunities that exist for learning and training in Wales.

If you look at the Swansea TUSC blog: http://tuscswansea.blogspot.com/ you will find a number of posts about FE cuts in Wales. If you agree with what is written then please share and help us to oppose cuts.

Thanks,

Ronnie Job
Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition Candidate, Swansea West

Thursday, 16 April 2015

FE workers prepare to fight back against Welsh Government cuts

It was no accident that today's media launch for the Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Wales took place outside a college. The cuts in Further Education now taking place across Wales are a perfect example of how Welsh Labour is prepared to pass on Con-Dem cuts.

The cuts now taking place in Welsh colleges threaten hundreds of jobs and will represent a reduction in learning opportunities for people across Wales, particularly for adults and part-time learners. It would mean the end of the principle of 'lifelong learning' - of learning and training opportunities from cradle to grave. Courses will be harder to find and even where available the cost may be prohibitive for many.

The cuts are directly as a result of reducing central funding and other streams of income from the Welsh Government. They are exacerbated by the willingness of the Welsh Government to award training contracts, previously delivered by professional staff from FE colleges, to private and third sector providers, some of whom don't even recognise unions.

But FE workers are not taking this lying down. An initiative from the lecturers' union, UCU to begin a campaign to put pressure on the Welsh Government to reconsider, is being backed now, I'm glad to say by my union, UNISON, and other campus unions.

Next Wednesday, 22 April, there will be college gate, lunchtime, protests by FE workers to be followed by a lobby of the Welsh Assembly the following Wednesday, 29 April. These could be really well attended and will be backed by the majority of students.

A lot of FE workers will recognise that only co-ordinated national action by campus unions is likely to be needed to force the Welsh Government to rethink. These protests will be important in alerting students and communities to the dangers for education and in building the confidence in FE workers for the fight ahead.

Stong support from TUSC for Global Day of Action for Fast Food Rights

Trades Unionist and Socialist candidates in 4 parliamentary seats and 2 council by-elections joined the Global Day of Action on Fast Food Rights in Swansea yesterday. TUSC supports one hundred percent this campaign, launched by the BFAWU, to unionise fast food workers to organise to end zero hours contracts, to fight for £10/hour minimum wage and for union rights.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Fed up with Labour - Vote TUSC



On Friday April 10 the Guardian ran an article '10 things Guardian readers think should be in the Labour manifesto' this was the same day the Guardian completely blanked and ignored the national manifesto launch of the TUSC manifesto. 
TUSC is all about meeting the needs for working class people but remains the largest party many people haven't heard of - stop the media blackout now!

Iain Dalton TUSC candidate in Leeds has had the following letter published on the Guardian this week. 


The Welsh launch of the TUSC manifesto takes place tomorrow 
Thursday 15 April in Cardiff outside the Cardiff and Vale college 35 The Parade Cardiff CF24 3AD at 11am. 

Make sure you tune into the TUSC election broadcast on Friday  17 when TUSC will have an historic opportunity to mount, on TV, the clearest anti-austerity message from any party in the election. Broadcast times are scheduled to be BBC2 5.55pm, ITV 6.25pm and BBC1 6.55pm.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

"TUSC the largest political party you've never heard of". Yet!

With the party leaders' general election debate imminent, the radio this morning keeps talking about the 6 largest parties contesting seats in Parliament. There's one party missing from that list - TUSC.

It is this blanking of TUSC that led political blogger, Alex Woolley of 50for15.com, to describe us as "the Largest party that you've never heard of".

http://50for15.com/2015/04/01/tusc-the-largest-political-party-that-youve-never-heard-of/

It's an accurate description in terms of our ambitions, if not in terms of our financial backing or likely vote at this election.

The TUSC Steering Committee has approved over 130 prospective parliamentary candidates for May 7 and hundreds of council candidates for English council elections.

We can't expect large donations like the £1.5 million that Unite the Union has given to Labour to fight the election but we have successfully inspired thousands of ordinary people to make donations large or small because they would not otherwise have anybody to vote for in this election.

While we're realistic enough to know that it's very unlikely that I'll be giving up my day job working in education, to become MP for Swansea West on May 8 for instance, we do believe history is on our side.  Workers, trade unionists and working class people need our own party - the bosses already have them in a number of party colours, including Labour red.

TUSC is doing pioneering work in raising the idea of a new mass workers' party and, even if it doesn't come next month, a breakthrough may not be that far away. When a clear anti-austerity message is presented it can inspire - look at the success of Syriza in Greece or the phenomenal growth in Podemos in Spain.

50for15 has identified 50 'marginal' seats in the election and is visiting each of them to get a flavour of campaigning. When Alex, on behalf of 50for15, visited Swansea TUSC supporters on Saturday we were battling with gale force winds, cold and rain. It was too gusty to use our banner in case it became a flying hazard to motorists!

Despite all obstacles, the response made the day enjoyable and worthwhile. I received a tweet last night that shows we're on the right track and will inspire me for the rest of the campaign.

"Great to meet you on Saturday @RonnieJob , despite the dreadful weather you managed to put some fire back into my jaded heart. Best of luck."

Ronnie Job, TUSC, Swansea West

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Meals on wheels: One more Welsh victim of austerity

The BBC is reporting that a Freedom Of Information request by Radio Cymru has revealed that councils in Wales have cut Meals on Wheels provision by around a third in 5 years.

This means that users of this service are not guaranteed a hot meal every day or to see another person; some councils in Wales only deliver a batch of frozen meals once a fortnight. There are Welsh councils which no longer provide this service at all!

This is just one more example of how services are cut and service users suffer because the Labour Welsh Government and councils in Wales, no matter which party they're led by, pass on Con-Dem cuts.

A Labour victory in the General Election in May will not prevent further cuts being experienced by users of services like meals on wheels; Labour has pledged to continue cuts. No wonder the Welsh Local Government says that councils in Wales, currently making £300 million in cuts, will face continuing austerity for the foreseeable future.

If you've had enough of cuts and being made to pay for a crisis that we didn't cause then you should check out if you're in one of the constituencies in Wales where you can vote for TUSC, the no-cuts alternative, on May 7.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Swansea TUSC supporters not daunted by miserable weather

This weekend sees the clocks go forward but the weather wasn't very spring-like in Swansea.

Undaunted by the foul weather, Swansea TUSC supporters visited the Uplands market to talk to potential voters in Swansea West... and the response certainly made it worth it!

We had some great comments from shoppers and market workers. Several times people who'd taken one of our mock ballot paper postcards came back to the stall to find out more about TUSC - which shows the effectiveness of the simple image which sums up the difference between TUSC and all other parties in this election

One woman down from London, visiting her daughter, had been inspired by seeing the Dave Nellist Underground interview on RT. Not only did she encourage her daughter to vote TUSC in Swansea West but said she would be checking out whether there is a candidate in her constituency in London.

She was one of a number of people who bought copies of the Socialist for the quality of its coverage of the TUSC election campaign.

One lifelong Labour voter told me how he'd given up on Labour and was wondering where the fightback would come from. He'd never heard of TUSC before which shows one of the difficulties that a new party faces but he has now and was pleased he has.

There's an awful lot of nonsense you have to go through in an election but talking politics with ordinary people is always a pleasure and it was great to see the new TUSC material go down so well.

Ronnie Job, TUSC prospective candidate. Swansea West.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Further Education cuts: Welsh Labour can't escape responsibility

This is a follow up to yesterday's article on FE cuts.

An early day motion supported by all the main unions in further education, calling for the reversal of devastating cuts in FE provision, now has the support of over 50 MPs.

Scanning the list I noticed that at least one Welsh Labour MP, Martin Caton, representing Gower, has signed. Gower College Swansea, which has one of its two main campuses in Martin's constituency, like pretty much every college in Wales, is facing up to huge cuts in funding. It is also, again like many other Welsh colleges, suffering from the Welsh Government's insistence on awarding many training contracts to private providers.

TUSC calls on Martin, who is stepping down at the General Election, to condemn his colleagues from the Labour Party, in the Welsh Government, for passing on Con-Dem cuts and to demand they reconsider. If these cuts are not urgently reversed then, should Labour win in May, then we will have a Labour Government in Westminster and a Labour Government in Cardiff, presiding over devastating cuts to further education in Wales.

If you are an education worker, student or a worker considering re-training, then Welsh Labour is letting you down badly; fund out how you can build TUSC and defend education.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Will Welsh Labour be gravediggers of lifelong learning?

It wasn't so long ago that the Welsh Government was making a commitment to 'Lifelong Learning' - equality of opportunity in learning and training throughout life a key stone of education policy in Wales. But like pretty much everything else that Labour used to believe in, that idea is being sacrificed on the altar of obedience to austerity and sticking to Con-Dem spending limits.

Welsh Further Education (FE) colleges are now facing up to a 50% cut in funding for most part time provision. This is on top of a general so-called "efficiency saving" - that's an obscure way of saying "cut" to those of us who work in further education. The result is jobs, courses and maybe whole colleges are put at risk.

The Welsh Government has just awarded a number of its latest work based learning contracts to private or 'third-sector' providers, some of whom don't even recognise trade unions. So much for the promise I heard First Minister, Carwyn Jones, make to the Wales TUC in 2013, that there is no room for outsourcing of public services in Wales!

Or does Welsh Labour no longer consider education and training to be an essential public service? Their willingness to continue to pass on destructive Con-Dem cuts to funding for further education in Wales, even when they hope and expect to have a Labour Government in Westminster in a couple of months, would seem to suggest that this is the case. It also says that they know as well as the rest of us that Labour in Westminster will continue with both austerity and underfunding Wales.

We're in a fight for the very future of further education in Wales and what is needed now is national action from trade unionists to secure the funding we need to continue to provide the quality training and education that college workers pride ourselves on. My experiences of being at the sharp end of Welsh Labour cuts in further education confirms for me the correctness of standing for TUSC, to provide hope and an alternative to the cuts-consensus. If you're a public sector worker in a service like FE, threatened by Welsh Labour's acceptance of Con-Dem austerity, isn't it time you checked out TUSC for yourself?

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Blair's Blood Money Backs Cardiff's Labour candidates.


Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has offered Jo Stevens, and Mari Williams, Labour candidates for Cardiff Central and Cardiff North respectively a donation of £1,000 each.

Blair is rightly hated for his role in the Iraq war which claimed the lives of thousands of ordinary Iraqi civilians, and TUSC Wales calls on both candidates to refuse the blood money.


Former Prime Minister Tony Blair - cartoon by Alan hardman 
The money is part of a wider donation totalling £106,000 to the local campaigns in each of Labour's 106 key target seats.

Part of the way Blair has made his money since leaving office is giving out PR advice to the dictator of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. If you want to get away with the murdering civilians like Nazarbayev get in touch with Tony today.

Blair's represents so much of what is wrong with the Labour party and British politics. A stalwart of privatisation he left the NHS with £70bn worth of debt as a result of the governments PFI schemes.

He also began the neo liberal assault on education by introducing tuition fees for university students and then tripling them to £3,000. Instead of education, education, education, Blairs slogan should have been profit, profit, profit.

The trade union and socialist coalition candidate for Cardiff Central, Stephen Williams has condemned the donation saying; "Ordinary people in Cardiff know that it was Blair that took us to an illegal war in Iraq and ended the socialist principles of old Labour. We all know that Blairism stands for war and an anti-working class, pro-capitalist rule."

The current MP for Cardiff Central is Liberal Democrat Jenny Willot and as socialists we wan't to kick her and the brutal Conservatives out of government, but we need  a genuine alternative to replace her. This blood soaked donation shows Milliband's labour isn't a break from the politics of the last decades, it's a continuation of them, and working class candidates who stand against war, and austerity are needed.

TUSC demonstrating agiasnt war.

TUSC is standing at least 100 parliamentary candidates in the general election, but we won't be taking a penny of war criminals or big bushiness. We want to create a genuine alternative to the likes of new Labour. Socialism would mean an end to war for profit, and the misery inflicted on the working class by successive governments that represent the rich. If you support these ideas, get involved and vote TUSC!


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Cardiff Cuts Curtailed by Protests but New Anticuts Party Needed to Finish the Job

Council Leader Phil Bale, who is facing calls for his resignation.
It was chaos.

The group of Labour councillors ruling Cardiff Council showed us last Thursday that pantomime farce is alive and well in this city - and not confined to the New Theatre.

Pantomime dame from Cinderella, which showed at Cardiff's New Theatre earlier this year.
Committed to making the cuts, but terrified of how unpopular this would make them, the ruling group dithered through the budget meeting until almost midnight, through adjournment after adjournment after adjournment.




Under massive pressure from campaigners, who were gathered outside for the Cardiff Against The Cuts protest lobby (more brilliant photos here), Labour councillors were forced to submit THREE emergency budget amendments TO THEIR OWN BUDGET.

Just days before, councillors had insisted that there was no option but to slash this funding, but when campaigners refused to blink they cancelled cuts to almost all the facilities and services that had organised public protests.

Funding for branch libraries was guaranteed until the next council elections, extending library campaigners' victory after previous protests. Play centres, which have fought a gruelling guerrilla war against closures plans for over a year, including protests in Grangetown and Splott that blocked major roads, were given another year's reprieve. Day centres for the elderly have been saved and youth clubs and Cardiff Alcohol and Drug Team have had their cuts reduced.

Austerity isn't over in Cardiff, though. The budget that all Labour councillors eventually supported agreed tens of millions of pounds worth of cuts to services and hundreds more job losses in a city that can't afford more unemployment. Much-loved facilities, such as Canton Community Centre and others, are facing demolition.

But the cat's out of the bag now: if you fight back, it is possible to win. We've got to shout that from the rooftops, and also broadcast the best way to fight in order to score a victory against cuts.

First off, never give in. No matter who tells you the cause is lost and there's no alternative but to accept cuts, closures and privatisation.

Second, don't be fobbed off by assurances that the money will appear from somewhere else - whether it's charities, companies or the community. Private companies aren't interested in public services unless they can milk them for profits, and there just isn't enough money in the pockets of ordinary people to be able to fund  all the facilities and services under threat. Focus on fighting to keep guaranteed funds from the council or other public body.

Third, give councillors, Assembly Members and Members of Parliament HELL unless they're doing absolutely everything they can to stop cuts to public services. They all claim to be on your side (especially in an election year!) but councillors, for example, can come out and publicly oppose cuts in the press, vote against their party's budget, resign from the cabinet to show their opposition to a plan, call in decisions to force the cabinet to look at them again, resign from their party and go to the press, and most crucially, call for a no-cuts budget that uses emergency cash in the reserves and careful borrowing to save all jobs and services while a campaign to demand more funding from the government is built.

Fourth, publicly promise to stand in elections as an anti-cuts candidate if your representative isn't doing all of the above. The growing support for this strategy amongst campaigners was a crucial factor in Labour backing off from these cuts, as they feared the development of a force that could take rob them of their positions - including (God forbid!) - the cash allowances that come with them!

Ross Saunders, the secretary of Cardiff Against The Cuts, is likely to stand for anti-cuts election alliance, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, in Cardiff South and Penarth, with widespread support from campaigners. At TUSC's Cardiff launch last Thursday, Ross said "Austerity is our fault. They've got away with it because we've let them - because we weren't organised enough to stop them. It's time we corrected that mistake: anticuts campaigners should stand in elections against the main parties, linking up through TUSC Against Cuts to start the process of organising a new, democratic party run by of ordinary working-class people to fight for our own interests. If I'm elected I'll take an ordinary working-class wage, donating two-thirds of my MP's salary back to the movement like the best socialist MPs did in the past."

Cardiff Council Leader Phil Bale could be booted out of office on Thursday, but we've had a change of leader before. LibDem Rodney Berman, Plaid's Neil McEvoy and both Goodway-puppet Heather Joyce and current Labour leader Phil Bale have changed the colour of the flag and changed the face in the papers, but the policies have been the same - cuts when big business demand we pay for the recession. We'll have to build a new party to change course away from austerity as well.




Swansea Labour Council's Cuts are taking us backwards

"Time stands still" reads the article in the Evening Post, in a story about how council  cuts have led to a number of publicly visible clicks around the city being set to, and remaining at, 12.00 as they are not being wound.

http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Clocks-stop-maintenance-man-winds/story-26106853-detail/story.html

As far as services are concerned though, Swansea's Labour Council is taking us backwards.

A £27 million cut in funding for jobs and services this year alone (projected £80million+ over 3 years) means everything that isn't a statutory requirement and probably some that are, is likely to be cut.

We must call time on cuts and all parties, including Labour, voting for them. TUSC, with 8 candidates already announced in Wales and more in the pipeline, is the only party putting a consistent no-cuts position in the General Election in Wales. Contact us to find out how you can help build the TUSC alternative.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

In Aberavon, you can back a local, working class trade unionist, who’s a socialist or..

You can back Labour’s candidate, a business advisor with no connection to Aberavon.


 

“I’m delighted that the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate is standing in Aberavon.”

“How can somebody like him (Stephen Kinnock) understand ordinary people in a place like Port Talbot?”

These were some of the comments Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) supporters received campaigning in Port Talbot today.
The Choice in Aberavon
Even a number of long-standing Labour Party supporters said that they would support TUSC candidate, Owen Herbert because they were so annoyed that Stephen Kinnock had, they felt, secured the candidacy purely on the basis of his family name.
TUSC candidate Owen Herbert has the sort of credentials, as a local trade unionist (Owen is branch secretary of the Swansea RMT branch), that they would once have expected of a Labour candidate in a working class constituency like Aberavon
We had offers of help in the campaign - people who’ll share the news that there is a local working class, trade unionist and socialist that you can vote for, people willing to put up posters and leaflet or canvass for Owen.


Owen Herbert
There is a working class, socialist alternative for voters in Aberavon. Owen, like all TUSC representatives, pledges:
  •  To vote against and fight cuts and austerity
  • To support all workers and trade unionists fighting to defend their jobs, wages and services they provide. We demand the freeing of trade unions to defend working people.
  • To fight for essential services, like transport and power to be taken into common ownership so that they can be planned for our benefit not to line the pockets of rich shareholders.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

In Aberavon, you can vote Labour or vote for a candidate who's a trade unionist and a socialist!

This Saturday (28 February), the Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) take the General Election 2015 fight to Port Talbot.

 

We'll be in the Aberafan shopping centre from 11.30am, highlighting the difference between TUSC and the political establishment.

 

Our candidate for Aberavon is Owen Herbert. Owen is a representative of one of the most militant trade unions in recent years, the RMT. His union is the first to officially back TUSC, having played a leading role in founding TUSC as an alternative to the cuts-consensus of the political establishment.

 

TUSC stands trade unionists, workers, campaigners against cuts on a platform of basic trade union solidarity. Above all TUSC candidates pledge to vote against and fight all cuts to jobs and services in our communities.

 

TUSC represents a decisive, working class, break with the political establishment. And you don't get more establishment than Labour's representative for Aberavon, Stephen Kinnock. He was born into the political elite as the son of two former Labour Party politicians – a party leader, later Euro Commissioner and a Euro MP, now Baroness. Now married to the prime minister of Denmark, Kinnock Junior is among the leading ranks of Labour 'princes' sons of Labour politicians, who seem to see a career in the Party as a birth right.

 

Former and even current Labour voters disillusioned by the lack of working class representation and fed up of representatives making and promising Tory cuts, should get behind Owen, a working class trade unionist, standing on the sort of platform that probably attracted them to Labour in the past.

 

TUSC representatives pledge:

·         To vote against and fight cuts and austerity

·         To support all workers and trade unionists fighting to defend their jobs, wages and services they provide. We demand the freeing of trade unions to defend working people.

·         To fight for essential services, like transport and power to be taken into common ownership so that they can be planned for our benefit not to line the pockets of rich shareholders.

 

Come along to Aberafan Shopping Centre, 11.30am, Saturday (28 Feb) to find out more about TUSC.




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“Pay me a third of the wage” says Llanelli MP hopeful

 

usdaw leftA candidate to be the next MP for Llanelli has pledged that if elected he will only take the average wage of Llanelli constituents. The announcement comes in the wake of public outcry at revelations of "cash for access" involving senior politicians.

As another financial scandal engulfs the Houses of Parliament with serious allegations made against senior MPs from both the Conservatives and Labour Party, one MP hopeful has pledged to make a clean break with what he calls the "parliamentary gravy train".

Scott Jones, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition(TUSC) candidate for Llanelli, said: "Working-class people are rightly disgusted by the news emerging about senior Tory and Labour MPs yet again offering their services to the highest bidders.

"What is incredible is that the Tory Malcolm Rifkind actually said that MPs are low-paid on more than £60,000 a year. Try telling that to care workers struggling on minimum wage zero-hours contracts!

"Meanwhile, New Labour's Tony Blair has taken time out from his round-the-world junkets with assorted dictators to outrageously try to defend his fellow war criminal Jack Straw. Once again, the very people responsible for destroying the last vestiges of socialism within the Labour Party have demonstrated their outstanding ability to enrich themselves off the backs of the working people who put them into their positions of power.

"This scandal highlights the increasingly identical nature of the four main parties whose politicians all have their snouts in the trough on the parliamentary gravy train as well all backing continued cuts, privatisation and capitalist austerity policies. No wonder just 16% in recent opinion polls trust politicians to tell the truth, who are amazingly even less trusted than bankers!

"I'm standing to be a voice for ordinary people, not to enrich myself. I restate my commitment now that if I'm elected as a TUSC candidate I will only take the average full-time wage of Llanelli residents, which is currently around £23,000 a year, approximately one third of the current wage for an MP. Any money on top of this will be put towards a solidarity fund to support grassroots community and workers' campaigns.

"There's only one group of people who will pull my strings – the ordinary working-class residents of Llanelli who deserve a representative in Parliament who will stand up and fight for their interests, not just the interests of those with the biggest pockets."

Scott Jones is a 26 year old retail worker and is a local branch secretary of the shop workers union USDAW.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition was formed in 2010 by the late Bob Crow and the RMT union, the Socialist Party, SWP and independent socialists.

For more information, email scottfrankjones@hotmail.co.uk or visitwww.facebook.com/LlanelliTUSC or http://www.tusc.org.uk.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

What will Scott Jones, TUSC candidate, do to crack down on tax dodging?

Over the last 2 weeks Scott Jones, TUSC candidate in Llanelli, has been contacted by dozens of people in the Llanelli constituency asking 'What will you do to crack down on tax dodging?' Thank you to all those who have got in touch, below is content of Scott's reply:


The Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition recognises how big an issue this is. If the tax avoided and evaded every year in Britain were collected, then cuts to public services would be unnecessary and austerity a thing of the past.


I believe that recent media revelations show that the private banking service offered to HSBC's Swiss account holders is more akin to an advisor to a mafia don than to a traditional financial advisor. The leak shows that HSBC's Swiss bank helped clients conceal black accounts and dodge taxes all over the world.


Although these revelations are being made public now, the information was leaked in 2007 and made available to governments in 2010. Of the 7,000 UK citizens on the list, only one has been prosecuted in five years.


Many countries started criminal investigations against HSBC last year - but the UK government shows no sign of action against the London-based bank. That may be due to the role played in the Tory Party by HSBC boss at the time - Stephen Green. Green was made a Conservative peer and minister of trade and investment eight months after the allegations were known by the government.


Labour has called for a public inquiry. But with Tristram Hunt, the shadow education minister, declaring that Labour is "furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business", there is little chance that it would do anything to curb these excesses.

As for TUSC, firstly, I would support the campaign to introduce the tax dodging bill currently being promoted. Secondly, I would reverse the cuts to frontline HMRC staffing made by Labour, Tory and LibDems Governments in the last 15 years and support the PCS union in fighting cuts. We need more frontline staff to catch these tax dodging parasites. Thirdly, I would ensure that those who steal millions from our public services in tax fraud receive at least the same treatment as those who are currently prosecuted for benefit fraud. Overall I would focus on prosecuting the super-rich for tax dodging rather than poor families struggling to cope in our inequality, poverty ridden society. Fourthly, I would campaign for the public ownership of all banks in the UK. The wealth, resources and any socially useful financial expertise these institutions have should be used to support job creation and public services. We don't need rich bankers helping their super-rich pals to get even richer at our expense.


These billions held by HSBC in Switzerland, and all of the money held in other tax-havens around the globe, should be invested productively to provide jobs, services and a better quality of life for ordinary people.


Scott Jones
Llanelli TUSC prospective parliamentary candidate
scottfrankjones@hotmail.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/LlanelliTUSC
http://www.tusc.org.uk/

Monday, 16 February 2015

Real wages continue to fall but Labour will continue public sector pay freeze

Today is the start of TUC Fair Pay Fortnight. The TUC has produced figures to show that the much-trumpeted recovery has not halted the continual decline in real wages.

The TUC estimates that real wages have fallen by over £2,200 for the average worker, since the Tories came to power. They also point out that the relentless attack on our wages has led to a loss of tax revenue to the Government of at least £33 billion. That's more than the planned £30bn of cuts that Tories, Liberal Democrats and LABOUR all voted should be made on the next Parliament, whoever wins the election.

Here, in Wales, wages fell in average by a further £300 last year.

Miliband, at Welsh Labour Conference, in Swansea this last weekend, spoke about Labour's pledge to increase wages. The Mirror today hailed this as a "hike in wages" but look at the detail. Labour is promising £8 an hour by 2020. That's just 15p more than the Current Living Wage outside London. It's already less than the London Living Wage; by 2020 it will be less than the Living Wage - what we're told we need to get by on - for all of us.

Even the Living Wage only provides enough to get by on when supplemented by working benefits in many cases. That's why the Bakers Union, BFAWU demanded and won TUC backing for £10/hour - the real minimum needed for workers. Unlike Labour, TUSC backs official TUC policy and demands £10/hour now.

In any case, Labour's claims to want to address the issue of falling wages can't be taken seriously while they remain committed to maintaining the Con-Dems' public spending cuts, including the cap public sector wage increases.

TUSC supports all workers taking action to halt the decline in their living standards, something else Labour has repeatedly failed to do.

Use Fair Pay Fortnight to highlight the issue of low pay.
Support the BFAWU/Youth Fight For Jobs/Hungry for Justice campaign for £10 Now!
Build TUSC as a political alternative, fighting to reverse the decline in workers' real wages.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Welsh Labour takes a break from making Tory cuts.. For 2 days only before normal service resumes!

Welsh Labour councillors and Assembly Members have taken a couple of days off from making devastating cuts to jobs and services this weekend for the pre-election rally that is Welsh Labour Conference.

Up until this weekend the pace of cuts announcements has been relentless; on the eve of Conference news came out that Cardiff's Labour-led council will shed nearly 600 jobs.

One area among many devastated by Welsh Labour cuts is education. Conference is being held in Swansea, home to a majority Labour council which is proposing to slash £24 million, 15% of the current budget, from education and schools, over the next 3 years.

Welsh Labour still claims to be protecting education but when Swansea primary heads were asked what cuts of this scale would mean they painted a picture of job losses for teachers and other education workers. They predict that it will be impossible to meet the statutory requirement to teach 5-7 year olds in maximum class sizes of 30 and that older primary pupils will be taught, in a number of cases in classes of 42+.

Cuts to their members' jobs didn't stop NUT Cymru tweeting pictures of Welsh Labour politicians from its stall inside the Conference. Welsh trade unions continue their unrequited love for Welsh Labour despite Labour's ongoing willingness to implement Con-Dem cuts. But their membership will not tolerate this for ever; already many trade unionists are turning their backs in Labour - 4 members of the NUT NEC will stand under the TUSC banner in May.

The Welsh Government is as guilty of vandalising education as Welsh councils. Further education colleges are reeling from cuts to various funding streams which will mean some colleges losing well over 10% of their funding. A 50% reduction in funds for and volumes of, post 19 education is a massive blow not only to workers in further education but to the communities they serve.

Once Miliband and the rest return to Westminster, normal service will be resumed as far as Welsh Labour making Tory cuts is concerned. Over the next few weeks, Labour councillors will vote on £millions of cuts to jobs and services in annual budget-seeing meetings. Miliband is promising to continue with austerity but anybody who doubts he means it should take a look at Wales, where Welsh Labour has been a conveyor belt for Tory cuts.

Trade unionists, socialists and people whose services are under threat will oppose the cuts proposals of councils and the Senedd and more and more will draw the conclusion we need a political alternative.

TUSC Wales already has an impressive list of trade unionist candidates for the General Election but there's still time for others frustrated by the cuts-consensus to join with us to ensure as many people in Wales as possible get the opportunity to vote for a real no-cuts alternative.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Labour council cuts make election pledges meaningless

The news this morning is full of Labour Education spokesman, Tristram 'aggressively pro-business' Hunt's pledge that Labour will cap infant class sizes at a maximum of 30.

In Wales there is already a statutory requirement for 5-7 year-olds to be taught in maximum class size of 30.

But this is made meaningless by the Labour Welsh Government and Labour councils passing on Con-Dem cuts.

Swansea primary heads were asked to respond to the draft budget proposals in education, agreed by our Labour Council Cabinet on Tuesday. To a woman and man they stated that the level of cuts proposed, £24 million or 15% of the current budget, over the next 3 years, would mean that they would be unable to meet this statutory obligation.

They went further, with several heads predicting, due to numbers of teaching and other jobs that would be lost if these cuts are made, those pupils not covered by this obligation, 8-11 year olds, would end up being taught in classes of 42+!

Words are one thing but as long as Labour remains committed to austerity that's all they'll remain, hollow, windy, meaningless words.

Swansea TUSC joined trade unionists and worried service users on a lobby of the Council  Cabinet meeting which agreed to recommend these cuts to the full Council.

We will be demanding that so-called 'left' Labour councillors vote against these devastating proposals on February 24. Come along and add your voice to those demanding elected representatives stop making Con-Dem cuts and fight instead. Help us to build TUSC as an alternative to the cuts-consensus.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Victory for Cardiff's Branch Library Campaigners! Keep up the pressure to cancel all cuts.

Branch library campaigners in Cardiff have WON!


Cardiff Council has been forced by the pressure of protesters to back off from its plan to close seven branch libraries in the city.

Campaigners had joined the protest lobby of the last Council meeting organised by Cardiff Against The Cuts (in the snow!) and rallied outside Central Library last weekend in demonstrations that told councillors emphatically that if they pressed ahead they'd be punished by their constituents.


Unison, which represents library workers, and campaigners are over the moon, but they're not laying down their banners yet. Although Cardiff Council says they won't cut off funding in April as planned, they are going to use the year to try to find "partners" to take over the facilities - in other words, they're going to come back for them next year if they think they'll be able to get away with it.

What's more, there is still a long list of facilities and services threatened with the axe, including Central library itself, the parks, the drug and alcohol counselling service, playcentres, youth clubs like Howardian Youth Music Centre, day centres for the elderly and much more.







But everyone can gain courage from the clear proof that campaigning works! Let's build the protest on budget day and chalk up another win for our side. Forward a link to this article to all your contacts, share the Facebook event like mad and invite your friends.


PROTEST: CARDIFF COUNCIL - STOP SAVAGE CUTS TO JOBS AND SERVICES


Meet at 330pm, Thursday 26th February, at City Hall, Cathays Park


But you've got to wonder why we're in this mess in the first place. Why are our Councils filled
with politicians who, instead of standing up for us and for the failtieis we need, instead doing
the dirty work of the Tory-Liberal government? Time we had our own coalition of
representatives, willing to stand up to big business and its representatives. Support the
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in this year's historic election challenge.

£80million+ of cuts to be proposed by Cabinet to Swansea's Labour Council will be opposed

None of the Labour councillors in the City and County of Swansea Cabinet, which later voted on proposals to make £80 million of cuts to jobs and services, was prepared to come out and face us.

Trade unionists, school parents, workers whose jobs are at risk, joined others who value and want to fight to defend services. Swansea TUSC added our banner  to those from Swansea Trades Council and Unite the Union.

Seeing as the cabinet members weren't prepared to come to the lobby, representatives of the lobby went to them. including TUSC candidate for Aberavon, Owen Herbert.

Members of the public have an opportunity at the start of the meeting to question the Cabinet. Councillors faced questions on the cuts in education and schools, including plans to sell off school playing fields. Alec Thraves, TUSC election agent in Swansea West, simply lambasted them for their lack of backbone in cravenly carrying out Tory cuts.

In 2 weeks' time, the proposals Cabinet agreed tonight will be presented to the full Council. We'll be back as part of a much bigger demonstration, including the Council's UNISON branch who are mobilising against threats of jobs losses, outsourcing and cuts.

Labour councillors may decide to make Tory cuts but trade unionists and the Swansea public will resist and not allow these cuts go unchallenged. Come to the lobby, February 24, Civic Centre, from 4pm.

We think part of that challenge must be putting forward a political alternative to Labour representatives who make Tory cuts. If you've agree join with TUSC.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Which side are you on?

This image, via TUSC supporters in Sheffield, is too good not to share..

Tristram Hunt, the Labour Education spokesman, who crossed a UCU picket line to deliver a lecture on Marx, publicly declares what TUSC has been saying, Labour is on the wrong side as far as trade unionists and working class people are concerned.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Listen to the People!

That’s the message Swansea TUSC will be taking to the lobby of the Special Cabinet Meeting of the Council, Tuesday (10 February) from 4pm at the Civic Centre.

For any Labour councillors willing to listen, the Swansea Trades Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) street ballot today (7-2-2015) sent a clear message: The people of Swansea want their representatives to stop voting for Tory cuts and start fighting them.

 


188 people participated in our ballot. Not one of them wanted their Labour councillors to make Tory cuts; 100% of them voted that they want “representatives who will fight the cuts”.
Unfortunately it appears that they won’t get that from their elected Labour representatives. Just like in the run-up to last year’s cuts budget, not one Labour councillor has spoken out against, let alone indicated a willingness to vote against, projected cuts of £80 million+ over the next 3 years.
The only defence they can offer for their failure to fight Con-Dem cuts is to claim that it is better that they make the cuts than somebody else does. People we spoke to today were furious that all Labour councillors are getting paid to vote for £millions of cuts to our jobs and services.
We asked people we balloted which of the proposed cuts that will be considered by Swansea’s Special Cabinet Meeting next week, most concerned them and invited them to write down a message to send to Swansea councillors.
There are a whole range of proposals that are worrying people we spoke to and making them angry, including the outsourcing and cuts in leisure and social services, threats to close youth centres and Plantasia, increases in charges for a number of council services and cuts in funding for supported organisations like West Glamorgan Youth Theatre.
Time and again though, the issue that seemed to most anger people is the proposed cuts to education. That’s no surprise; many had read the report in the local paper predicting that primary-age pupils could end up being taught in classes of 40 if these cuts to funding go ahead. In fact a number of heads of primary schools, including the one my youngest son attends, have predicted to the Council that 15% reduction in funding being proposed over the next 3 years could lead to classes of 42+ for some primary school pupils.
The people of Swansea have spoken today and told their councillors that they expect them to vote against Con-Dem cuts at the Special Budget Meeting on Tuesday and the full council meeting on February 24. It was summed up in a message one woman wrote to councillors: “No more cuts! We’ve had too many already!”
That’s what Swansea TUSC supporters will be demanding when we join the lobby of the Council Special Cabinet Meeting on Tuesday, from 4pm, Civic Centre.
Ronnie Job
TUSC Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Swansea West