Swansea needs councillors who vote against cuts! No to austerity - vote Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Don’t waste the opportunity to send a clear ‘no more cuts’ message by voting for Ronnie Job, TUSC: the only no-cuts, socialist candidate in Swansea West in the 2015 General Election!

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.
There is a working class, socialist alternative for voters in Aberavon. Owen, like all TUSC representatives, pledges:
    Owen Herbert
    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.

Which side are you on?

TUSC will be out campaigning in Port Talbot shortly, opposing the cuts-consensus.

In Aberavon, the choice is between a working class, local trade unionist and Labour.

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.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Press Release: Defend Council Jobs & Services!

Lobby City & County of Swansea Budget Meeting

Tuesday, 24 February, from 4pm, Civic Centre

Swansea Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) supporters will join trades unionists, including the Council UNISON branch and Swansea Trades Council, in lobbying councillors to reconsider potentially devastating cuts to jobs and services on Tuesday. Swansea's Labour councillors will be voting on proposals to make £80 million + of cuts over the next 3 years at the Council budget-setting meeting.

The Cabinet made some minor concessions to public opinion and reduced cuts in a handful of areas but instead will propose ordinary people in Swansea pay for these changes with a 4.8% increase in Council Tax. So, for instance, the Council has retreated on charging for residents' parking (for now) but people will end up paying as much or more in increased Council Tax.

Ronnie Job, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) prospective parliamentary candidate for Swansea West, like all TUSC candidates, is committed to fighting against and voting against, all cuts to jobs and services.

Also, like a lot of parents in Swansea, he has good reason to fear for his children's education, with the Council voting on a £24 million, 15% cut in funding over 3 years. The Cabinet will recommend this level of cuts to schools despite warnings from primary heads in Swansea, of the number of teaching and other jobs that will be lost and the likelihood that this will result in class sizes of 42+ in a number of schools.

Ronnie said..

"The Council want to sell off my son's school playing as 'surplus land' but the threat to school playing fields is only the tip of the iceberg as far as council cuts to education in Swansea are concerned. When primary heads were asked what budget cuts of this level would mean in Swansea schools, they predicted job losses of teachers and other school staff. This, they said, would lead to a failure to meet the statutory requirement for 5-7 year olds to be taught in classes with a maximum class size of 30 and older pupils being taught in classes of 42+ in a number of schools."

"The Council's only response seems to have been - other areas, like social services, face bigger cuts."

"A Labour Council is devastating education and taking risks with our children's futures. It's not acceptable!"

"Remember councillors are voting on cuts for the next 3 years, when they hope and expect to have a Labour Government in 3 months' time. They obviously expect no noticeable improvement from a government of their own party."

"If you care for the future of services like education then join TUSC, trade unionists and campaigners, on Tuesday, in demanding Labour councillors reconsider these devastating cuts."

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Labour MP enlists Con-Dem Government to save school playing field from Labour Council

I received a letter from my MP, Geraint Davies, thanking me for signing a petition against the proposed sale of a school playing field at Parkland Primary.

There's no need Geraint, to thank me for signing a petition to save the space where my youngest son plays, learns, participates in sports and evacuates to in an emergency.

Whatever representations Geraint has made to Swansea cabinet members, who are all members of the same party as him, the Labour Party, have been unsuccessful. The Cabinet still insist on referring to the playing field as "surplus land" and will recommend the proposal to sell it as part of their cuts budget on Tuesday.

Geraint's letter promised that, as a result of him raising the issue in Parliament, the Government will write to the Council to urge them to rethink. What does it say about our Labour councillors that a Labour MP is asking a Con-Dem government to step in to protect our children's playing fields from a Council of his own party?

Perhaps Geraint should join me, trade unionists and campaigners in lobbying our Labour Council to reconsider, on Tuesday, when this proposal is part of a budget of £80 million + cuts that councillors will vote on?

Ronnie Job, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), prospective parliamentary candidate for Swansea West.

Lobby Council, budget-setting meeting. Tuesday, 24 February, from 4pm (council meeting starts at 5pm), Civic Centre.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Free the trade unions to defend working people and nationalise essential services..

Image of Tristram Hunt with quote Labour is furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business

One of the best gigs I've been to was the Selecter in TJ's, Newport. It was a long time after the height of their fame but the energy, particularly from lead singer Pauline Black, enthused everyone in the place to dance for the whole show.

Pauline Black had a piece in the Independent today: "If I were Prime Minister: The days of privilege and inequality would be over". There's a number of suggestions in the article that would not look out of place on a #TUSC election leaflet.

In particular, check this out: "I'd also repeal the anti-union laws so that working people can defend themselves against the bankers and corporations. And I'd implement a process of bringing essential services back into public ownership, starting with public transport."

Unshackling the trade unions and public ownership - 2 key points that TUSC stands for and which are enormously popular with working class people. Yet the last Labour Government, failed to act on either, despite having a clear majority for 13 years.

And there's no reason to think that the new Labour leadership would act any differently. They've failed to support any strike action by workers attempting to defend themselves from relentless Con-Dem cuts. Shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt, who showed his union commitment by crossing a UCU picket line to deliver a lecture on Marx, has recently declared that Labour is "furiously, passionately, aggressively pro-business". Labour refuses to commit to nationalisation of railways or utilities, including Royal Mail, despite their own conference voting overwhelming for it.

Read Pauline Black's article: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/if-i-were-prime-minister-the-days-of-privilege-and-inequality-would-be-over-10051846.html
It's full of common sense ideas that used to appear in Labour manifestos but which you will only get now from TUSC. And Selecter are still touring; if you get a chance, check them out.

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.

Thursday, 12 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

£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

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Swansea Labour Council's Bad News for School Pupils

I've been studying the papers for City & County of Swansea's Special Cabinet Meeting next Tuesday (February 10). As a parent of two school-age children, I have to say it's enough to keep you awake at night with worry.

This meeting will decide which proposals go through to the Council budget-setting meeting on February 24. The agenda, for a Labour-led Council remember, is all about parcelling out Con-Dem cuts.

For months parents, governors, pupils at my younger son's school have been opposing the proposed sell-off of school playing fields for house-building, along with residents from the local community.

We have serious concerns that the Council has barely paid lip-service to the democratic process. Reading the papers reveals that my son's school is one of 14, just in the first tranche of sell-offs of school land. Labour councillors claim this is "surplus land" but the beautifully maintained ground where my son plays, learns and evacuates to in an emergency, is a school playing field and not surplus land!

You can check this out for yourself  - follow @ParklandsField on Twitter or look up the Save Parklands Field Facebook group. Watch the wonderful video, starring pupils themselves, which demonstrates why a number of Welsh sports stars are now backing the campaign to save the playing field.

How many of the other parcels of school "surplus land" are also green spaces valuable to our children's education and development?

I knew about this proposal from studying the Council's budget papers last year. Some Labour councillors who voted for the proposals obviously hadn't checked what they were voting for because they told me, when I challenged them on it, that there were no plans to sell school playing fields. The only alternative, that they did know and lied to me, would be even worse!

School playing fields are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to schools and education cuts. Up to now, the Welsh Labour Government and our Council claim to have protected education. In fact, there have been cuts in areas like 'education other than at school' and transport for faith and other schools but education has seen far fewer cuts than many other services. Now however, education will face severe cuts from the Council - £24 million in the next 3 years, 15% of the current budget.

In the papers that Cabinet members have received there's a section where head teachers identify what cuts of this scale will mean for their schools. They all predict that it will be impossible to meet the statutory requirement to teach 5-7 year olds in maximum class sizes of 30. Many schools predict class sizes of 42+ for older pupils. All of them will see job losses, which will affect teachers, classroom assistant and support staff.

The only response of the Council leadership to these concerns seems to be that schools are 'relatively protected' and other services have it worse.

If you work in education or are a parent who's worried about their children's education, join TUSC representatives on the lobby of the Council Cabinet on February 10 and the full Council on February 24 (both from 4pm at Civic Centre).

Meet TUSC representatives this Saturday in Oxford Street, from 1.30pm, holding a ballot on whether Swansea people expect our representatives to fight Con-Dem cuts.

Monday, 2 February 2015

TUSC to offer support to lobby of Council Cabinet

Swansea TUSC supporters will be standing with Swansea Trades Council representatives and defenders of council services when they lobby the special Cabinet Meeting (Civic Centre, February 10, from 4pm).

This meeting will decide where the axe will fall - whose jobs are at risk, what services will be reduced, privatised or even axed altogether - as they decide which cuts to propose to the full Council budget-setting meeting on February 24.

Swansea Labour councillors, like their colleagues across the country, seem to see their role as parcelling out Con-Dem cuts. TUSC thinks we need representatives who will fight Tory cuts not implement them.
We will be holding a ballot in Swansea this Saturday, 1.30pm, in Oxford Street, to ask the people of Swansea if they agree that our representatives should fight cuts not make them.

We encourage everybody who's worried that a service they hold dear is under threat - library, school breakfast club, Plantasia, playing fields, West Glamorgan Youth Theatre, etc - to also come along on February 10 and on February 24 demand councillors reconsider. Ask councillors to do what they were elected for to defend jobs and stand up for services.

Lobby City & County of Swansea, Special Cabinet Meeting, 4pm, Civic Centre, Feb 10 to demand councillors reconsider £27 million cuts.