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!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Where's our recovery?

The week that sees the official announcement of the election has also seen the announcement of another food bank opening in a working class community in Swansea.


Conservative and Lib-Dem politicians keep telling us that things are improving but that's not the experience of most of us. If just heard on the radio that disposable income went up 1.9% per household in the last year. Not in my house it didn't nor in the household of anybody I know!

TUSC asks "where's our recovery?". The profits of the bosses and the bonuses of the bankers may have recovered and passes the levels they were at before the economic crash that their greed was trigger for. But for workers there's still too much month at the end of the money and  increasing numbers of homes in working class communities struggle to even put food on the table.

That's why TUSC representatives are socialists; we want to use the vast resources in society for the benefit of the masses not the profits of the minority at the top.

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.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Redundancies in Swansea schools as Labour education cuts bite

According to the Post, NUT workplace reps and officers are facing a busy time as the reality of what Council schools funding cuts mean starts to become clear. They are holding 22 meetings over likely redundancies as schools start identifying how many staff they need to lose because of Swansea Labour's cuts.

Swansea Cabinet member for education, Cllr Raynor is saying that it is 'only' 1 or 2 staff per school but unions and heads seem to think some schools are facing much bigger cuts than that. And the bad news is that this is only year 1 of a projected 3 years of 5%, year on year, cuts to funding for schools and education. That's  £24 million Labour councillors voted to cut from our children's schools over the next 3 years

When TUSC supporters challenged Labour councillors over these devastating cuts to schools at the Council budget-setting meeting, Council Leader, Rob Stewart, said he didn't recognise the picture we painted of redundancies for teaching and other staff and increased class sizes.

But when primary school heads were asked, by the Council, to predict the likely consequences of these cuts, they forecast that they would not be able to meet the statutory requirement  to teach 5-7 year olds in classes of 30 or less and that, in some cases, older primary school students could end up in classes of 42+!

And still Labour councillors claim to be "protecting education", although they do sometimes qualify it with the word 'relatively'. In other words, they're making deep cuts in education but they're cutting deeper elsewhere.

If you're feed up with Welsh Labour representatives passing on Con-Dem cuts then what can you do to help TUSC in the General Election?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Welsh Labour can't escape responsibility for devastating FE cuts

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; find out how you can build TUSC and defend education.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Mayfair Loophole. Close the tax gap. Nationalise the banks.

I've been sent a number of e-mails by people via 38 degrees asking how if I was the elected MP for Swansea West, I would have voted on the amendment to the Finance Bill to close the so-called 'Mayfair' loophole. This allows private equity holders to pay less tax and has been estimated to cost the UK treasury up to £700 million a year.

I am in favour of all measures aimed at more progressive taxation including closing down loopholes that benefit only the rich. However it has to be pointed out that £700 million a year would represent only the very tip of a massive iceberg.

Research commissioned by PCS union has shown that over an estimated £120 billion a year is list to the treasury through avoided, evaded and simply uncollected tax; most of it from giant corporations and super wealthy individuals.

This is wealth that could be used to fund essential services, which are being slashed and to lower the amount of tax those of us without Swiss bank accounts pay on essentials like food, clothing At the same time the Con-Dem Government has axed the jobs of civil servants responsible for collecting tax ensuring their rich friends get away with paying even less.

In order to close the tax gap we need to reverse the cuts in civil service jobs and if we are serious about closing the sort of loopholes that the super rich use with impunity, we need to take the banks and the finance houses into democratic, public ownership.

Nationalisation of the banks is official TUC policy. The Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition are the only party committed to acting on it.

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, 21 March 2015

Vote for cuts or vote TUSC Against Cuts!

In Swansea West, like over 120 parliamentary constituencies where there are now TUSC prospective parliamentary candidates approved, voters can vote for cuts in a wide variety of party rosettes or they can vote for a clear no-cuts alternative - TUSC. The image for the latest TUSC leaflet says it all.

We'll be distributing some of these at the Uplands market on Saturday (28 March). If you're sick of the cuts consensus and want to know more about TUSC, come and have a chat.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Why should we pay for a crisis we didn't cause?

Have you received your new Council Tax Bill?

This time of year is always a shock to the system when you realise how much extra you're going to have to pay for council services that you know are being drastically cut all the time.

Perhaps in an attempt to convince us that they are listening, Labour councillors in Swansea held off on a small number of cuts to services, amounting to maybe 1 or 2% of the cuts they considered - partially restoring funding to West Glamorgan Youth Theatre, postponing the introduction of charging for residents' parking, etc.

But even here it was simply a case of altering the way Swansea residents will pay for Con-Dem austerity - to pay for these concessions the Council has increased Council Tax by 4.8% instead of 3%. Council Tax has how gone up by nearly 10% in two years at a time when workers' wages, including those of the Council's own workforce, are being held down.

Whether its through cuts to services or through increased housing costs (council rents have also gone up as well as council tax), Labour, like all other parties represented in Westminster, the Senedd and Swansea's council chamber, is committed to austerity. They might argue about the fine details - whether to put more emphasis on slashing public sector jobs and services or on increasing charges for the use of those services. But the bottom line is they all accept that working class people should continue to pay for a crisis that was not of our making.

That's why TUSC is needed. We need representatives who clearly say "no more" to cuts and will stand up for working class people. Join us in making TUSC a force in the general election in May, the Assembly election next year and the council elections the year after.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Rejecting the political gravy train

There's been fresh revelations of politicians for hire and news that, here in Wales, Assembly Members are to get a £10,000 pay rise recently.

It's a good time then to repeat that representing working class people isn't  about personal gain for me.

Like all Socialist Party members, I'm committed to the principle of all elected representatives, be they MPs, AMs or trade union officials, being a workers' representative on a worker's wage.

In the event of being elected in May, I wouldn't take a penny more in salary than my current wage as an education worker in a college. That would mean not taking well over half the salary of an MP, donating the rest to trade unionists and campaigners fighting cuts and austerity.

It's not an idle boast, current Chair of TUSC, Dave Nellist, was for years a workers' MP on a worker's wage, before Labour decided there was no place for socialist principles in their party.

Here's an article from the Socialist on corrupt politicians and the need for workers' MPs on workers' wages, written by Claire, Swansea Socialist Party branch secretary.


Thursday, 12 March 2015

TUSC: For the needs of the millions not the profits of the millionaires

The starting point for TUSC representatives is always what working class people need; never what the bankers, the bosses and pro-austerity politicians say they can afford.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

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.


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.