Tag Archive: trades


Grass Roots Rank and File Launch Conference.

Saturday 12 April 2014. 12pm
Comfort Inn, Opposite New St Station,

Station Street,

Birmingham. B5 4DY.

Following the successful meeting of the Grass Roots Left National Committee in Birmingham on 18 January the launch conference of the new Grass Roots Rank and File now looks to be on a far healthier basis than was feared when Socialist Fight supporters had been reduced to a minority of two in defence of the Constitution and Platform of the GRL as the basis for the new organisation at the AGM of 9 November. Between the two meetings the SWP had split at its December conference and the new organisation, now called the Revolutionary Socialists of the 21st Century, took the majority of the Unite the union faction who had supported Jerry Hicks for general secretary twice. Both the SWP and the SR21C attended the GRL NC and as they were now rivals they sought to accentuate their leftism. It seems now that the new joint Rank and File organisation will be open and democratic and be based on a platform and constitution at least similar to the old GRL one. Both Workers Power and Socialist Resistance had to reverse themselves and now say that standing on Jerry Hicks election points really was minimalist and not enough and they abandoned their charges of ultra leftism against SF. The SWP, of course, continues its opportunist tailending of all the other the TU bureaucracies as Laurence Humphries’s report on the Unite the Resistance conference on page 30 makes clear. In the meantime we hear that fusion discussions between Unite and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), whose Executive is dominated by the SP/CWI, are going to succeed because the government will withdraw check-off facilities from the PCS and so probably bankrupt it. The SP has already approached the United Left, the Unite bureaucracy’s mouthpiece, to ensure that they become ensconced as that bureaucracy’s footstools as well as for the RMT’s Bob Crow.grass-roots-RandF

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Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq
An analysis of the effect of economic sanctions on Iraq –
A film by John Pilger

A poll conducted by ComRes last year asked people in Britain how many Iraqis had been killed as a result of the 2003 invasion. A majority said that fewer than 10,000 had been killed: “a figure so shockingly low it was a profanity”, commented John Pilger, in an article in the Guardian this month.

John Pilger continued: “I compared this with scientific estimates of up to a million men, women and children who had died in the inferno lit by Britain and the US. In fact, academic estimates range from less than half a million to more than a million. John Tirman, the principal research scientist at the MIT Centre for International Studies, has examined all the credible estimates; he told me that an average figure suggests roughly 700,000. Tirman pointed out that this excluded deaths among the millions of displaced Iraqis, up to 20% of the population.

The VOAG reported in March 2010 on two studies exploring civilian deaths as a result of the invasion of Iraq. One study by Opinion Research Business, on behalf of  New Scientist estimated 1.2 million people had died. A second study conducted by Dr Burnham of Johns Hopkins University, on behalf of The Lancet, Organ of the British Medical Association, estimated that a million people had died as a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

These figures were complied in 2006, and updates in 2010 revised these figures to between 1.2 and 1.6 million deaths. With a pre-war population of 22.5 million, it means that as of 2010 one in nineteen Iraqis 1/19 has been murdered by the coalition. A further 20% of the population (One in five) have been made homeless. When General Franks, the US Comander of the Coalition was confronted with these figures he famously said: “We don’t do body counts”.

These death rates are based on statistical data. They are not confined to direct violent deaths, but all deaths; deaths through disease and loss of infrastructure for example. All ‘extra deaths’ over and above what the levels would have been, had there not been an invasion.

The “shock and awe” of 1993 and the subsequent occupation of Iraq was the extension of a murderous blockade imposed for 13 years by Britain and the US. Its results were suppressed by much of the mainstream media. Half a million Iraqi infants died as a result of sanctions, according to Unicef.; with children dying in hospitals, denied basic painkillers.

John Pilger’s article concluded: “Ten years later, in New York, I met the senior British official responsible for these “sanctions”. He is Carne Ross, once known in the UN as “Mr Iraq”. I read to him a statement he had made to a parliamentary select committee in 2007: “The weight of evidence clearly indicates that sanctions caused massive human suffering among ordinary Iraqis, particularly children. We, the US and UK governments, were the primary engineers and offenders of sanctions and were well aware of the evidence at the time but we largely ignored it and blamed it on the Saddam government, effectively denying the entire population the means to live.” I said to him: “That’s a shocking admission.”

“Yes, I agree,” he replied. “I feel ashamed about it …” He described how the Foreign Office manipulated a willing media. “We would control access to the foreign secretary as a form of reward to journalists. If they were critical, we would not give them the goodies of trips around the world. We would feed them factoids of sanitised intelligence, or we’d freeze them out.”

In the build-up to the 2003 invasion, according to studies by Cardiff University and Media Tenor, the BBC followed the Blair government’s line and lies, and restricted airtime to those opposing the invasion. When Andrew Gilligan famously presented a dissenting report on Today, he and the director general were crushed.

The truth about the criminal bloodbath in Iraq cannot be “countered” indefinitely. Neither can the truth about our support for the medievalists in Saudi Arabia, the nuclear-armed predators in Israel, the new military fascists in Egypt and the jihadist “liberators” of Syria, whose propaganda is now BBC news. There will be a reckoning – not just for the Blairs, Straws and Campbells, but for those paid to keep the record straight.


For More On Iraq:
Focus On Iraq: The War Continues (January 2011)
Latest On The Iraq Occupation (March 2010)
Civilian Death Toll In Iraq And Afghanistan (March 2010)The Voag

VOAG-Logo-(Brick)5-transparThe VOAG joined the Surrey United Anti-Capitalist Students Society (SUAC) For Freshers Fair 2013, at the University Of Surrey. 

One small step for the proletarian revolution, one giant leap for the Surrey United Anti-Capitalists, as the SUAC Students Society Romps home with 72 new members recruited at this years Surrey University Freshers Fair.

The VOAG salutes and congratulates those (they know who they are) who made this year’s Freshers Fair the most successful freshers fair ever. And not a swappy in sight!

The stool looked amazing, featuring picture boards of recent activities, a looping slide show, as well as various flyers. Props to all those that helped!    

SUAC is the only left group on campus. The SWP have tried in past years to start a student group, but to-date have always failed to get enough members to establish themselves. This year the SWP stayed a home.

Whilst the Lib-dems and Tories have abandoned Surrey University,  there is, on paper, a Labour Club. It keeps its head well low, never campaigns and doesn’t ever meet. The Labour Club appears out of thin air every Freshers Fair, and then hibernates until the next. 

The Green Party managed to arrange a stool, and sent two elderly, woolly jumper types. The VOAG ventured over to the lonely couple, but was scared off, fearful of frostbite, The Socialist Fight magazine the VOAG was carrying, alerted them that the VOAG was outside their target audience, and an icy chill deended on their stall.

The nearest thing to politics in the University of Surrey, outside the SUAC, is the Go Green Society. The VOAG went over to their Freshers Fair stall out of curiosity and to investigate if there were any issues of mutual interest that we might work together on.

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VOAG Logo (Brick)5Labour, The TUC and the Levy

The crisis of British capitalism is reflected in the war waging inside the Labour party between Ed Miliband and Len McCluskey General Secretary of Unite, the biggest trade union in Britain. According to Channel 4’s Fact-Check, “Unite the union is Labour’s biggest donor by far. It has provided 20 per cent, or £11.9m, of party donations since the election.”

Miliband, in a letter to Labour party members, is propagating the idea of “one nation”, so that Labour can prepare for coalition government with either the Tories or Liberal Democrats. Miliband states “A hundred years ago the Trade Unions helped to found the Labour Party”. From 1900 the working class through the trade unions founded, built and financed the Labour party to advance the cause of the working class by representing it in parliament.

Miliband further comments “The organised trade unions are no longer part of the Labour party, we are changing that relationship between the Labour party and the trade unions”. The actions of Kinnock who drove out the Militant Tendency and Blair who removed Clause 4 from the Labour party constitution were de-signed to kill off the last vestige of socialism in the Labour party. Miliband takes up the right-wing offensive anew and wants to turn the Labour party into an open capitalist party with no connection to the trade unions or the working class, although he wants to continue receiving big donations from unions like Unite.

McCluskey’s compromise is not designed to starve the Labour party of funds but accept abolition of the political levy. The levy is taken from each member’s contributions and goes directly to the Labour party. It is approximately £3 per year on an “in if you do not opt out” basis. As in the same debates about the Osborne Judgement from 1909 to 1913 most Tory and Liberal politicians want an “out if you do not opt in” position which would cost the party millions of lost subscriptions. The Great Unrest forced the 1913 compromise we still have today.

Ending the political levy would abolish the block vote at conferences and TU influence in local associations. It was the response that Jerry Hicks got crucially on Labour party funding in the General Secretary election in April from 80, 000 Unite members that aerated McCluskey to make his stance. The Labour party want money for nothing, vague Warwick Agreement pre-election promises never kept

The rank and file influence in the Labour party is via the TU bureaucracy, who are at one with Labour lead-ers in pandering to Imperialist chauvinism: British jobs for British workers, anti-immigrant bigotry and support for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. We must defeat this reactionary clique by establishing rank and file control. The Labour party membership must be won to this mass struggle. This is how to win the British working class to the revolutionary party.Join Guildford Against Fees And Cuts Facebook page for details of local events against the cuts.

Save Our Fire ServiceSupport The FBU Strike next week

FBU, 23/09/2013
For two years now our Officials have been in consultation with the  Government under its reform of public sector pension bill, the FBU’s aim is to achieve an occupational pension scheme that fits our occupation that is to say that one that the vast majority of firefighters can reasonable expect to work until retirement. However just before Parliament broke up for its summer recess it announced to the FBU that it was going to draw to a head the consultation and gave us a deadline to agree with their proposals or they would impose a worse scheme upon us. The FBU could not agree with the proposals put forward by CLG as primarily they are unworkable, do not fit the occupation and would lead to mass dismissals of firefighters without a pension or a job but also the FBU do not consider that putting ultimatums to our members is a good way of doing business.
There has been many independent reports completed over the two years, some commissioned by the FBU and some by the Government. This evidence has been used in the consultation and not once has it been disputed or discredited as these reports and evidence is without doubt credible and accurate and the  government ministers can not dispute the findings which broadly support the FBU’s case but more importantly prove that the government proposals are unfair, unaffordable, unsustainable and not designed to fit our occupation. The most notable is an independent report done by Dr Williams, commissioned by the  government, paid for by the government, the author was chosen by the government and the terms and reference was detailed by the government, yet the report their report broadly supports the FBU’s case.
The FBU balloted its members to see if they were willing to take Strike action to defend their Pensions, the Ballot return was excellent 78% “Yes” to support industrial action so our members will be called to walk out the doors at 12:00hrs-16:00hrs on the 25th September, this Wednesday.
Many of our Stations/Workplaces will have a picket but some are considering other activities such as leaving the site and walking into their towns to talk to the public, some are considering marching down to their local MP’s offices and discussing the issues with them. So I guess it would be best if comrades from other trade unions or local supporters and activists want to know what might be happening in their local area please contact the local officials who will be happy to advise.The VOAG

Voag-Logo-9After a year of silence The VOAG is back!

Bringing news and scurrilous stories

from Surrey and Beyond.

Campaigning for a better society.

&

Supporting

Surrey United Anti Capitalists
Save Our Services In Surrey
Socialist Fight Group

 Join The VOAG Facebook group to join the discussion or leave comments

The Shrewsbury Pickets And The Criminalising of Trade Unionism.

By Peter Farrell, Shrewsbury Pickets Campaign, April 2012
The essence of the Shrewsbury pickets and their jailing, was not just a Tory Government seeking revenge on trade unionists for the defeat inflicted on them in the early 70s by the National Union of Mineworkers over wages; or the Transport and General Workers Union (now UNITE) for the dockers defeating them over the Industrial Relations Act. Or that building workers, traditionally poorly organised, had organised a 13-week national strike, and had virtually shut down every site in the country and had won a large pay increase.

The necessity to launch attacks on the working class and their organisations lay in the break-up of the post-Second World War economic agreement to stabilise capitalism. Europe had waged war and its industries and economies and cities lay in ruins. The United States financed the rebuilding of the world’s economies. It was called the Bretton Woods agreement, named after the town in New Hampshire, USA, where a new international monetary system was set out. The US dollar replaced Sterling as the world’s trading currency on the basis of Washington’s gold reserves. The working class had returned from the slaughter of war being told they would return to a land fit for heroes. They swept the Tories from office in a landslide victory for Labour on a mandate to build homes, jobs, better wages, schools, a National Health Service.

They had to borrow on a massive scale – the USA economy dominated. The probelm was that the amount of cash loaned no longer matched the amount of gold the USA had. A 2-tier system developed and gold prices began to rise. In particular the Oil producing countries weren’t happy to be paid pieces of paper which no longer could be guaranteed. So in 1971 came the break-up of Bretton Woods – and inflation began to rise. Wages were eroded, oil prices soared fuelling  increased production costs .

In order to compete and cut production costs on the world markets the need for wage cuts was deemed vital. But this meant that the Trade Unions had to be stopped from defending their members’ wages. Laws limiting wages had to be backed by laws stopping TU’s from taking action to defend these. The NUM smashed the wages laws and the TGWU dockworkers defeated the Tories after blacking containers which were taking their jobs.

Defying the Industrial Relations Act, the dockers continued blacking a container port. Five dockers were arrested and imprisoned in Pentonville jail and became known as the Pentonville 5. Dockers stopped work bringing ports nationally to a standstill. An estimated 60,000 workers surrounded Pentonville prison amid the threat of a general strike as more and more workers stopped work, forcing the Tories to release the Dockers. The Dockers’  leader Vic Turner, knew that there was only one answer – as the Dockers had demonstrated – that was action by the whole TU movement. The TUC and other major unions refused to mobilise their members in solidarity with the dockers, and sold out.

The Shrewsbury Pickets were then doomed to remain in prison. Des Warren’s book “The Key to My Cell” was so named because it revealed the key to their cell lay on the desk of the TUC. This book is a must for Trade Unionists wanting to understand the trials and the conspiracy. It is all in there. Des Warren did what should have been applauded by the TUC, UCATT and TGWU – but the top leaders of the trade union movement accepted them being criminalised by a State Conspiracy. 

As Des Warren stated from the dock at the trial, “we are all part of something bigger than this trial. The Working Class movement cannot allow this verdict to go unchallanged”. He led the way in refusing to except anything other than he was a political prisoner. Des was given the longest sentence of all the pickets, 3 years. During his imprisonment he spent 6 consecutive months in solitary confinement; during four and a half months of that time he wore only a towel around his waist. He was in solitary another 2 months, as well as at other times. On 36 occasions he was put on report for breaches of discipline. Des was moved 15 times between 12 different prisons – every attempt was made to try and break him, and inflict misery on his wife and children. 

From prison he led the fight for Justice and yet every attempt to mobilise union support was met with either lies or deceit by the official TU. Because the State had used charges alleging criminal conspiracy, the TU and Labour leaders used that to squirm out of doing anything, saying Judicial reviews and an incoming Labour Government would release them. Des and Ricky Tomlinson – who had been jailed for 2 years – had decided when they were sent down not to except the sentence and fight back. Apart from “Key To My Cell”, the defence QC, John Platts Mills, in his book “Muck Silk and Socialism” and Jim Arnison’s book on the trials, the fit-up was ignored by the media. John Platts Mills wrote, the trial of the Shrewsbury pickets is the only case I know of where the government has ordered a prosecution in defiance of the advice of senior police and prosecution authorities. Police had accompanied the pickets from site to site and saw no reason to intervene, no arrests were made. 

But Building contractors had complained to their federation, who complained to Tory MPs who complained to the Home Secretary. The 2 police forces involved, North Wales and West Mercia, questioned some 800 witnesses before deciding that proceedings couldn’t go ahead because it was impossible to identify any wrongdoers. The home secretary, in defiance of the advice he had received ordered the police to bring proceedings and in February 1973, 31 men were arrested, and 24 were prosecuted some 6 months after. Throughout their imprisonment there were numerous strikes and calls for action for their release. The most famous being the campaign launched by Wigan Builders Action Committee, which marched from Wigan to London demanding a general strike to get them out. It culminated in a demonstration in London with over 5,000 workers marching.

There were numerous attempts to get Justice and answers once Des and others were released, including exposing those TU and Labour leaders and left apologists who sold out. Des had been given Largactyl – a heavy sedative – in prison which resulted in him developing Parkinson’s disease which would eventually cause his early death. Des’s son Nick describes his struggle and his determination and gives an insight to Des in his funny and moving book “Thirty Years in a Turtleneck Sweater”. Many people helped Des and attempts were made for him to go to Cuba for treatment, but he was unable to go because he was too ill.

In 2003 Des Warren was awarded the Robert Tressell Award for services to the working class at the Construction Safety Campaign’s AGM in Liverpool, together with other Shrewsbury pickets.  Des Warren died in 2004 but before he died Mike Abbott who had helped look after him, promised he’d fight to clear his name. So in 2006, after 30 years and under the 30 years’ Freedom of Information act, a meeting was organised with Ritchie Hunter and Harry Chadwick. It was decided that they would relaunch the Shrewsbury Campaign. Meetings were held which were well attended and the beginnings of the present Justice for Shrewsbury 24 pickets Campaign was born. Other meetings were held and more people wanted to help. 

In London following a packed meeting where Arthur Scargil, John McDonnell MP, John Hendy QC, Ricky Tomlinson and others spoke, the London Committee was formed. A National Committee was started and a constitution agreed and things began to move forward . Many of those who became involved were not new to Shrewsbury. In London alone 2 had participated in the London to Wigan march as had Mike Abbott, 4 were full-time UCATT convenors, 1 was chair of UCATT London region, 3 had been involved in Shrewsbury committees in the 70s, and 2 had been involved in the launch of Des’s book .

Considering that UCATT had moved a successful resolution at the TUC. It certainly was not followed up. When the Labour government was approached and Jack Straw was asked to release the papers relating to the case, the National Committee was told that for reasons of national security they could not. Consider Bloody Sunday and revelations that troops murdered 13 civilians, Hillsborough police altering statements, Orgreave police violence. The National Committee has organised a lobby of parliament, 2 Early Day motions, and 2 fringe meetings at UCATT conferences.

Fringe meetings were held at the Labour conference in Brighton, speakers at fringe meetings organised by the Blacklisted Workers Support Group went to the Manchester TUC congress and spoke at 3 meetings. We’ve produced a forty minute DVD which has been shown around the country; spoke at numerous trades councils; recently raised 1,150 pounds towards the CCRC; joint benefit do’s for Blacklisted workers; stood shoulder to shoulder with the 6 months Besna dispute and the Crossrail sackings. We’ve aslso organised meetings with TU leaders and the TUC leadership. We have participated at all the hugely successful annual Shrewsbury pickets marches, through Shrewsbury organised by Telford and Shropshire TUC.

Today the lessons of the Shrewsbury pickets and the state conspiracy and criminalisation of the TU’s are vital lessons for Trade Unionists, who are facing an unprecedented attack on our democratic rights and the very welfare state workers fought for by this coalition. It’s not just simply a case of clearing the names of the Shrewsbury pickets as Des stated from the dock. Victims or Villains, we are all part of something bigger than this trial . The National Committee fully participated in the Criminal Case Review Commission the CCRC. And we fully supports it physically and financally. But the campaign must be wider, involving the whole workers’ movement, it can’t be left to a small sectarian undemocratic group based in the North West. With occasional support of 1 or 2 TU leaders and 1 or 2 MP’s speaking on platforms, no matter how sincere they may be. The TUs could have and should have made available facilities and money for a massive campaign if they really wanted to do something.

We refuse to believe that anybody can separate all the issues that workers face today from the questions of Justice for the Shrewsbury pickets, they are intrinsically linked. Just read the evidence . The National Committee knows from messages that UCATT and UNITE officials – as well as ALL rank and file members – want to see the campaign reunited. The workers movement has been divided time and again, employers always seeks to divide and split campaigns to weaken them. we’ve always left our door open for anyone to talk constructively. Democracy in action is maintaining differences yet fighting the common enemy on decisions agreed by all.
By Peter Farrell, April 2012. (Reproduced without permission)
http://www.shrewsburypicketscampaign.org.uk/

World’s richest woman says poor
should have less fun, work harder.

David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times, August 30, 2012
Just in case you were beginning to think rich people were deeply misunderstood and that they feel the pain of those who are less fortunate, here’s the world’s wealthiest woman, Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, with some helpful advice.

“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain,” she said in a magazine piece. “Do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.”

Gina Rinehart, the world’s richest woman, says people who are jealous of the wealthy should work harder. (Twitter / August 30, 2012)

Yeah, let them eat cake.
Rinehart made her money the old-fashioned way: She inherited it. Her family iron ore prospecting fortune of $30.1 billion makes her Australia’s wealthiest person and the richest woman on the planet. “There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire,” she said by way of encouragement. “Become one of those people who work hard, invest and build, and at the same time create employment and opportunities for others.”

Boom. Almost too easy.
Why are people poor? Rinehart blamed what she described as “socialist,” anti-business government policies, and urged Australian officials to lower the minimum wage and cut taxes. “The millionaires and billionaires who choose to invest in Australia are actually those who most help the poor and our young,” she said. “This secret needs to be spread widely.”
And now it’s out there. Thank you, rich people. We’re not worthy.

Victory To The Sparks!!! –
Balfour withdraws ‘Sign Or Be Sacked’ contracts!

From Union News: 17th February, 2011

In a major breakthrough, Unite has announced that Balfour Beatty has withdrawn the self-declared BESNA contracts at the centre of a 7-month dispute which has brought chaos to industrial relations across the construction industry.

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services was regarded by Unite as the ring-leader of a group of seven firms seeking to impose new contracts on thousands of sparks, plumbers and other engineers which they said would have substantially eroded skills required for new workers coming into the industry and enforced cuts in pay and allowances of up to 35% for the existing workforce.

The withdrawal of the contracts follows talks between Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey and Balfour Beatty’s chief executive officer Mike Peasland. Unite says the negotiations will be followed by further high level talks to secure members’ livelihoods and the stability of the industry.

It comes after Balfour Beatty lost a High Court action yesterday seeking an injunction to prevent strike action at the company. (You can read our detailed analysis of the judgement here)

Unite is calling on the other six firms to follow the lead of the main player Balfour Beatty and withdraw the contracts and the threat of dismissal.

Welcoming the news, Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said: “Balfour Beatty’s decision to withdraw these contracts, the threat of dismissal and to enter high level talks is a welcome move.

“Not only is it a victory for common sense, but it is testament to the resolve of hard-working construction workers who have stood shoulder to shoulder to defend their livelihoods.

“Continuing to impose these contracts would have resulted in a race to the bottom that would have been bad for the industry. We expect the other six construction firms to see sense and follow Balfour Beatty’s lead in talking seriously about securing livelihoods and bringing stability to the industry.”

In a message to supporters, one of the leading rank and file organisers of workplace protests against the contracts, Steve Kelly of the London Construction Branch, said: “You are all working class heroes. Well done to one and all.”

Dozens of Unite electricians had already handed back unsigned, the letters they had received demanding they accept the new contracts.   More on this story at:  Union News.co.uk

TUSC, The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition to challenge for a seat on London Assembly

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), made up of trade union members and socialists, is to stand candidates in the Greater London Election on 3 May to challenge the all-party support for the government’s austerity cuts and pay freeze.

The coalition expects to win support from trade unionists and other voters who are angered by the recent statements of Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, in which they stated that they will not reverse the Government’s cuts and that they support its pay freeze.

A list of candidates will challenge in the ‘top up’ section of the election and if it wins at least 5% of the vote across the whole of London it could win at least one place on the 25-seat Greater London Assembly.

The coalition has already selected prominent London trade union leaders such as Alex Gordon, the national president of the RMT rail and maritime union and Steve Hedley the RMT’s London Transport regional organiser, Ian Leahair, the Fire Brigades Union executive committee member for the capital, Joe Simpson, assistant secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association and Martin Powell-Davies, who is the London representative on the national committee of the NUT teachers union.

The Labour Party will be concerned that many public sector workers who participated in the 30 November pensions’ strike may be moved to vote for this coalition because of the failure of Labour leaders to support the walk-out.

Labour leaders will also be worried that rank and file union members of Labour affiliated unions could press for their funds to go to a party like TUSC instead of to Labour.

Steve Hedley, whose RMT union was expelled from the Labour Party in 2004 for backing the Scottish Socialist Party, said, “We need candidates who support the ordinary man and woman. TUSC is the only organisation that opposes all cuts, defends pensions and benefits for all working people. Labour just wants a compliant, silent union movement to hand over its money. TUSC will be a voice for all workers and will support trade unions in struggle.”

TUSC national committee member Nick Wrack, who is also a candidate, said, “London is a city of stark contrasts. There is a huge amount of poverty amidst the plenty. Corporate bosses and bankers still get their million pound pay and pension packages while one in six London workers is paid less than the Mayor’s £8.30 per hour living wage. Millions are suffering from the cuts to services and benefits yet last year the city paid out over £4 billion in bonuses. It’s extremely hard even for those on better wages to make ends meet. We believe that there is an opportunity for a party that will speak up for working-class London to make a real break-through and that would begin to change the nature of political debate in Britain today.” TUSC believes it can get a candidate elected if it wins at least 150,000 votes across London.

Candidates selected for the TUSC GLA list so far include (in alphabetical order):
April Ashley, UNISON National Executive Committee

Alex Gordon, RMT President
Steve Hedley, RMT London regional organiser
Ian Leahair, FBU National Executive Committee
Martin Powell-Davies, NUT national executive
Joe Simpson, POA assistant secretary
Jenny Sutton, UCU Chair, London Regional Committee (FE)
Nick Wrack, TUSC national committee member (former chair of Socialist Alliance and Respect)
There will also be candidates from the CWU postal union and the PCS public service workers union.
(All standing in a personal capacity)

The final list is not yet decided. Other candidates are still being considered.
The FBU has 5,500 members in London.
The RMT has over 12,000 members in London Underground alone

 TUSC CONFERENCE: Saturday 28 January 2012,
11:00am – 4:00pm, University of London Union, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY
http://www.tusc.org.uk