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!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

TUSC why we support demand for £10/hour minimum wage

Not only does the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition support the demand for £10/hour minimum wage but our representatives and supporters actively campaign for it, and not just at elections either.

£10/hour represents the minimum that's needed for a genuine living wage. Even the current official 'Living Wage' is only enough to get by on if it is supplemented by working benefits. Poverty wages are the reason why the majority of people claiming benefits are in work.

When wages are any less than £10/hour then the Government is effectively subsidising low-paying employers with our taxes and resources that could be used for our services. Supermarkets, which include some of the biggest, wealthiest businesses on our high streets (or retail parks anyway - they're killing town centres) are subsidised to the tune of £11 billion a year to pay poverty wages to the workers that generate their profits.

Why should we subsidise these giant corporations to pay poverty wages? With smaller businesses who genuinely couldn't afford to pay that much, there could be a case for the state helping them to pay (after all we subsidise them now by paying low paid workers benefits). But that would only happen if they opened their books to trade union scrutiny to prove that they really couldn't afford it. They would also have to prove that they pay their taxes in full because many low-paying firms are also implicated in tax-dodging.

Of course even £10/hour won't lift workers out of poverty if they are not guaranteed enough hours to earn a wage to put food on the table. That is why TUSC also demands zero-hours and other super-exploitative contracts are abolished along with minimum wage exceptions, like discriminatory youth rates.

All of this is TUC policy since the last Trades Union Congress but the Labour Party, which many trade unions continue.to pour money into, will only promise to raise the minimum wage to £8/hour in 5 years' time. Even their promise to end zero hours contracts are hedged around with small print.

There is only one party contesting this election that is proud to stand on TUC policy and that's TUSC.

TUSC supporters and representatives campaign to raise the minimum wage with other trade unionists and will continue to do so whatever the result of this election. The picture accompanying this post shows us supporting the Bakers' Union, BFAWU, and other trade unionists, calling on workers to join a union and fight for £10/hour on a global day of action (15 April) for trade union rights in the fast food industry.

If you're a trade unionist who thinks the party your union funds should fight for trade union policies or if you're a low-paid worker who supports our demand for £10/hour then get involved with TUSC and help us to fight  for £10 now and beyond the election.

Ronnie Job
TUSC Candidate, Swansea West

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Standing up to devastating Welsh Government cuts to adult learning

Trade unionists from Welsh colleges took our ongoing fight against Welsh Government cuts to Further Education to the Assembly buildings today.

These cuts threaten jobs in colleges across Wales but more than that, they threaten the broad range of courses on offer in FE colleges. This is particularly the case for adult learners as adult training and learning faces a 50% cut to funding in the next year.

Only a handful of AMs bothered to come and talk to protestors but we were joined and supported by FE students and by TUSC supporters, including Jaime Davies, Parliamentary Candidate for Caerphilly.

Reverse all cuts! Fund Further Education so that we can do our jobs and continue to provide the quality education that people in our communities need.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

For a genuine free press

Press regulation – by whom and in whose interests?

It is not surprising that in the wake of the phone hacking scandal lots of people have called for tighter regulation of the press; I know I have received numerous emails on this subject. But the vital question is regulation by whom?

We have no end of regulatory bodies in the UK but they are appointed not elected and they are not held to democratic account. Appointed by the establishment, these bodies often represent the same powerful interests as the people they are supposed to regulate, meaning they are ineffectual and can offer little more than token gestures. OFGEM failed to stop the price-fixing scandal involving the big energy companies for example.

I wouldn't be in favour of adding another unelected and unaccountable regulatory body - one that would impose the views of its members on the rest of us. Such a body might also be used to further limit the ability of ordinary people to get our positions heard, while being unable or unwilling to tackle the sorts of abuses of media control that led to phone hacking in the first place.

Oversight that would be meaningful would need to be exercised democratically by the mass of ordinary people, including the workers in the media industry. That's not going to happen while the bulk of media is in the hands of the likes of Murdoch.

Control of the political agenda

This election has brought home starkly the influence of the media on politics and the 'democratic process', with such important issues as who looks best eating a bacon sandwich becoming talking points on the evening news. It has also illustrated how the UK media biases their coverage to the main parties of the establishment.

Despite being officially the 6th largest party in this election, contesting 135 seats and 30% of the seats in Wales, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is still for many, the largest political party that they've never heard of. We've faced a virtual media blackout. Even though we've surpassed the threshold where we should qualify for 'fair coverage' TUSC has received the bare minimum of exposure. The reason isn't hard to find; you only have to look at who owns and controls our press.

A handful of media moguls own the overwhelming majority of our press and exert an enormous influence on our political process. Just look at the way politicians over the last 2 decades have been desperate to court the favour of Rupert Murdoch. The photo accompanying this posting is an advert for my preferred choice of reading, the Socialist. It contrasts a workers' paper, written by, sold and read by working class people to images of the Sun being promoted by the leaders of the 3 main parties, including Labour, despite its union bashing, Page 3, lies about Hillsborough and its opposition to everything the labour movement has ever stood for.

For a genuine free press

No press baron is ever likely to give TUSC £1million to fight this election, like the owner of the Daily Express has just given to UKIP. Owners of mass media - TV channels, newspapers, etc use their positions to promote their own agenda and substantially define the political landscape on which parties compete.
Yet whenever newspapers have surveyed their readers in recent weeks on the issues that matter to them they've found, to their surprise, that many of the policies that TUSC stands for are incredibly popular: nationalisation of the railways and utilities, reversing privatisation in the NHS, rent control and council house building, scrapping of all the anti-trade union laws, a £10/hour minimum wage with no exceptions on grounds of age and an end to zero hours contracts. If the press reflected the views of the majority fairly then these issues would be to the fore in the media debate during this election.

We need to campaign for a genuinely free media that is not under big business control. In a socialist society it should be a means of communication for everyone, with its parameters discussed and decided democratically involving the widest possible number of people.

Ronnie Job
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Candidate Swansea West

Saturday, 25 April 2015

TUSC says protect our environment!

In this General Election the mainstream parties have largely ignored the question of the environment and climate change. The Tories have decided to drop what Cameron has been alleged to have called the "green crap" because when measures to tackle climate change come up against protection of the bosses' profits the environment loses out every time.

The Socialist paper this week published an article about BP which illustrates perfectly how, under capitalism, profit overrides both people's needs and the environment's. In 2003, recognising the growing global awareness of the acuteness of climate change, BP attempted a 'green' re-brand, with the slogan 'Beyond Petroleum'.

They announced investment into diversification from fossil fuels, partly for good PR and partly to chase after government subsidies for renewables. The financial crash in 2008 changed all that. Government subsidies were cut and BP shelved most of their work on renewable energy. They chose instead to pursue new extremely environmentally destructive options, like tar sands extraction in Canada. For private corporations like BP shareholders come before populations and the planet.

The Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition recognises the urgency of acting immediately to slow and ultimately halt further climate change but we have no faith in governments of the established parties to regulate for environmental protection or in big business to self-regulate.

In this election we are calling specifically for:
• Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions – otherwise climate change, caused by capitalism, will destroy us.
• Invest in publicly-owned and controlled renewable energy. Oppose fracking.
• Move to sustainable, low-pollution industry and farming – stop the pollution that is destroying our environment. No to profit-driven GM technology.
• Produce for need, not profit, and design goods for reuse and recycling.
(from TUSC General Election 2015 platform).

TUSC is in favour of taking the energy and other utilities into democratic public ownership and the rail network as part of a publicly owned, sustainable transport network. When workers in these industries and local communities have control then planning can take place for need and not for profit and big business won't be able to vandalise local environments for quick profits.

Ronnie Job,
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Candidate, Swansea West

If you want to know more about my views on climate change and defending our environment then check out the regular features in the Socialist paper on these issues.

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

Sunday, 19 April 2015

TUSC: "ordinary people talking sense"

"just ordinary people talking sense" - that's TUSC

On Friday, the Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) had its election broadcast. Everybody Swansea TUSC supporters met who'd seen the broadcast this weekend was impressed.

One man at our stall in town said it was "just ordinary people talking sense". While a woman who hadn't seen it yet because of her work pattern, said she'd recorded it and was looking forward to watching it later, after talking to us and taking material.

One woman canvassed in Townhill on Sunday said she seen the broadcast and that she "agreed with everything said". She'll be voting Ronnie Job for Swansea West in the General Election and Owen Herbert for Townhill in the Council by-election.

TUSC qualified for an election broadcast because we've exceeded the threshold for 'fair' coverage. We have candidates standing in more than 1/6 of seats in the General Election (in Wales were contesting nearly 1/3).

Inspired by a brilliant broadcast, the mood of Swansea TUSC campaigners this weekend has been as bright as the spring weather. The picture doesn't do the views from Townhill justice but I doubt many canvassers would have had better views this weekend.

Did any canvassers have better views this weekend?
TUSC has been called 'the largest political party you've never heard of'. One person at a time we're changing that and our message - that working class should not be made to pay for a crisis we didn't cause is being well received.

TUSC is the only 100% anti-austerity party contesting this election. If you haven't seen our broadcast yet, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcEMrCTVRdg

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.


Ronnie Job
Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition Candidate, Swansea West

Finally an election broadcast worth watching!

The Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing in 135 100% anti-austerity candidates in the General Election on May 7. In Wales we are contesting one third of seats. This means we qualify for fair coverage from the media, including an election broadcast.

That broadcast was shown last night and it showed what's different about TUSC. We are the only 100% anti-austerity party standing. If you missed it you can catch it here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=pcEMrCTVRdg

If you have issues you'd like to discuss from the broadcast or even better, if you've been inspired to help in TUSC's campaign, candidates would love to hear from you. Here's how you can get in touch with candidates in this area:

Owen Herbert (featured in broadcast) for Aberavon
Email – owen.herbert@hotmail.co.uk

Meet your candidate today!
Saturday 18 April – 11.00 Aberavon shopping centre, Port Talbot

Ronnie Job for Swansea West
Phone – 07963 454041
Email – swanseaTUSC@gmail.com
Twitter – @RonnieJob
Swansea TUSC blog – http://tuscswansea.blogspot.co.uk/

Meet your candidate today!
Saturday 18 April – 11.30am Oxford Street, Swansea

Mark Evans for Gower
Email – johnmev@msn.com

Meet your candidate today!
Saturday 18 April – 11.00 Llanelli town centre

Mark's in Llanelli helping out fellow candidate Scott, who as a shop worker, has to work most Saturdays.

Scott Jones for Llanelli
Phone – 07598752971
Email – scottfrankjones@hotmail.co.uk
Facebook – Vote Scott Jones TUSC, Llanelli 2015

Meet your candidate!
Wednesday 6 may 7.30pm
Queen Victoria Club, Llanelli, SA15 2TL

As well as 135 parliamentary candidates on May 7, TUSC is standing over 600 representatives committed to voting against all cuts in council elections in England and 2 council by-elections in Swansea.

Dave Phillips (no connection to former Council Leader!), TUSC candidate in Cockett will also be in Swansea town centre today.

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.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A response to 4 policy questions from 38 degrees

1) Do you pledge to crack down on tax dodging?
A study commissioned by the PCS found that £120 billion+ is avoided, evaded or simply not collected each year, most of it from big business and the super-rich. This is money that could be used for vital services. TUSC would be in favour of cracking down on tax dodging. We think that this can only be done effectively by taking control of the banks by bringing them into common ownership, something that is TUC policy but is only supported by one party in the election.

2) Do you commit to increase NHS funding?
The starting point for TUSC is always what do people need? It is clear that the NHS needs an increase in funding to enable it to meet Bevan's 3 principles at its founding: that the NHS should be free at the point of use  accessible to all and that decisions should be made on the basis of common need not cost. A good start would be to write off the PFI debts that succeeding Tory and Labour governments have saddled us with.

3) Do you commit to stop NHS privatisation?
Not only would TUSC oppose all future privatisation in the NHS, we are in favour of reversing all privatisation to date and cancelling PFI, which is a millstone around the neck of the NHS.
Labour has promised to repeal the Health and Social Care Act but they still see a role for private providers in the NHS, as shown by discussions they've had about the acceptable level of profit to be made in healthcare.

4) Do you commit to stop TTIP?
TUSC rejects all secret treaties. TTIP threatens to open up all our public services to privatisation and represents a huge transfer of power from elected governments to big corporations. TTIP can't be tinkered with or the NHS excluded from it, as other parties would have us believe. This threat to public services and democracy has to be rejected completely.

Ronnie Job,
TUSC candidate, Swansea West

Protecting our community's environment. A response to a Swansea West Constituent

This is from a response to a series of questions from somebody in Swansea West about protecting our community from environmental damage, referring to the manifesto of the CPRE.

I would argue that all these issues have been aggravated by austerity and the willingness of the entire political establishment to make cuts. As a representative of the Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), I'm proud to say that I stand on the platform of the only 100% anti-austerity party contesting the election.

In your email you talk about "short term economic needs" dominating the political agenda. I would say that this is the nature of this economic system we live under, capitalism. TUSC is socialist because we believe society should be organised for the needs of people and communities and not for the profits in the pockets of a rich few.

I'll answer some of the points you raise about housing, sustainable transport and the voice of local communities in planning in a bit more detail.

TUSC recognises that there is a desperate need for affordable housing. We would argue that this would be best provided by providing new council housing. As you point out, new housing has to be built in the right places; it is important for the well-being of those who live in our communities that we retain our green spaces. At the moment Swansea's Labour Council is proposing to sell off playing fields at my son's primary school.

New housing doesn't necessarily mean building on new land; there are a lot of unused buildings in Swansea (some of them owned by the Council). Where possible these could be developed to provide affordable housing. New housing should use sustainable materials and incorporate the best energy-saving technology.

I definitely think the needs and feelings of communities need to be given more weight in the planning process. How can it be right that for instance, giant energy companies are able to ride roughshod over the opinion of the local community and their fears for the future of their environment, in the interests of fracking? With a number of firms interested in fracking or fracking-related processes for Swansea Bay and the Loughor estuary, Swansea residents may soon be testing for themselves, the limits of how much attention is paid to local residents' concerns in the planning process. Swansea TUSC supporters will campaign alongside all those opposing fracking and other processes that will damage our environment.

I am certainly in favour of improving public transport both in order to make transport sustainable, reducing the environmental impact but also because I think it would improve the well-being of transport users. I don't drive and, as a regular user of public transport, I can testify that it is increasingly difficult to use  public transport for everyday purposes, like travel to and from work. It is expensive and timetables are often infrequent. Competing companies don't co-ordinate times and refuse to accept each others' tickets.

I wrote for TUSC last year about how the Council's decision to award the contract for one leg of my route to work to a different company had led to a near doubling of the price of my daily commute: http://tuscswansea.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-need-for-publicly-owned-integrated.html

I'm in favour of bringing public transport into democratic public ownership beginning with the nationalisation of the rail network. Nationalisation of the railways would be enormously popular but despite overwhelming support at their own party conferences, the Labour Party will still not back it. It is not an accident that the first trade union to formally back TUSC is the RMT, which represents rail workers.

On these and other questions TUSC is able to give an unequivocal answer, we will develop policy based on the needs of the mass of ordinary people never, as is the case now, for the profits in the pockets of a rich few.

Ronnie Job, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate, Swansea West

Friday, 10 April 2015

TUSC support for cycling as part of a sustainable transport policy

CTC, the national cycling charity, has been encouraging its members to write to candidates in the election to query their support for cycling generally and a 5-point programme in particular:

  1. Leadership and ambition to increase cycling levels.
  2. Sustained funding commitment from the national transport budget.
  3. Cycle-friendly design standards for all new highway and traffic schemes.
  4. Improved safety for cycling through strengthening road traffic law and revisions to the Highway Code.
  5. Positive promotion of cycling including funding of cycle skills training.
TUSC recognises that enabling more people to enjoy cycling in safety for both work and leisure would be an important part of establishing a sustainable transport policy, as well as having enormous potential health benefits. While there are cycle routes locally, there is obviously still a long way to go in terms of making cycling a safe and pleasurable means of getting about.

It should be possible to be able to cycle anywhere without being constantly at risk from traffic or from accidents or damage caused by potholes and deteriorating roads. Cut to Council services - our Labour councillors are planning £80 million+ of cuts over the next 3 years - are a threat to further developments of cycle routes locally and mean that all road users have cause for concern about the state of our roads.

In order to make cycling a viable every-day means of transportation it would also be necessary to invest in secure storage at every workplace and public facility.

To carry out the 5 point programme above and to commit to the improvement in facilities for cyclists that's needed in Swansea would require substantial funding. That would mean the Council and governments in Westminster and Cardiff not only halting but reversing cuts. For this programme to be anything more than an aspiration requires a commitment to end austerity; as the only all-out anti-cuts party contesting the election, I'd argue that only TUSC candidates have the will to do what's needed for cyclists.

Ronnie Job, TUSC candidate, Swansea West

TUSC Manifesto launch and meet the candidate

     TUSC Manifesto Launch

Just click on http://bit.ly/1yhrp50 to download a copy of our Manifesto. 

Record number of candidates:
Subject  to final confirmations it looks like we'll have a record number of candidates standing, flying the flag for an anti-austerity, socialist message. At the general election we will be contesting 30% of the parliamentary seats in Wales, 21% of the seats in England, and 17% of the seats in Scotland. We will also have almost 650 candidates, in 117 towns and cities, contesting local council seats.
TUSC candidates are firefighters, nurses, teachers, social workers, train drivers, and more. We also have students, young workers fighting low pay, campaigners against the bedroom tax and people with a record of standing up for their communities.
You can see details about our candidates here: www.tusc2015.com

Meet Swansea West Candidate 'Ronnie Job' - Saturday 11th 11:30 - 13:00 Oxford Street, Swansea City Centre. 

Join the campaign! 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Further on the NHS and TTIP

In response to questions from potential voters:

The Health and Social Care Act is enormously destructive for the NHS in England with its massive extension of privatisation and market principles In Health Care. But in many ways, the Con-Dems were just building on the direction of the last Labour Government, which oversaw an increase in the pace of privatisation of health care and particularly saddled the NHS with huge debts for decades to come, through PFI schemes. Labour has promised to repeal the Health and Social Care Act if it forms the next government but it has not promised to reverse privatisation. Indeed the proposal by Labour to introduce a "profit-cap" shows they see a continuing expanded role for private providers in our NHS.

The NHS in Wales has not suffered so much from privatisation as England; the Health and Social Care Act does not apply here and there have been no new PFI schemes in the NHS for some time. However I still believe that the NHS in Wales has been let down by the Welsh Government, which has passed on cuts to health care under the Con-Dems and under the previous Labour Government. These cuts have had serious consequences in missed targets for care in a number of areas, including ambulance response times and some areas of cancer care. That is not in any way a criticism of the dedicated and professional staff working in the NHS; something I am well aware of being married to a palliative care nurse, now lecturer in nursing. NHS workers' efforts are undermined by cuts in resources and their morale is sapped by the downward pressure on their terms and conditions.

The NHS in Wales is not exempt from the affects of privatisation in any case. There is, quite rightly, an increasing understanding of the link between health and social care and the need to integrate the two. The outsourcing of social services across Wales by councils, including the half of all Welsh councils led by Labour, has had negative consequences for health care and is a barrier to cooperation.

TTIP is a threat to public services, particularly health services. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would expose the NHS in Wales, just as much as England, to the threat of accelerated privatisation.

TUSC campaigns against all profiting from health care. We support the principles that Bevan outlined for healthcare..
• that is should be free at the point of delivery
• that it should be accessible to all
• that decisions should be made only on the basis of clinical need and not cost

To achieve that means to resist TTIP, not only be elected representatives consistently voting against it but by campaigning amongst patients, health workers and the public generally to inform them of the dangers and support all actions taken against it. At our 2015 Conference we agreed to include opposition to TTIP in our central platform for this election, "No to TTIP and all secret austerity treaties".

We want to reverse all privatisation of health care that had already taken place, ending the PFI schemes that leech off our NHS.

We would be in favour of bringing the giant multinational drug companies that make up "big pharma" into public ownership to make them democratically accountable and to end their ability to hold the NHS to ransom. They charge the NHS what they like regardless of production costs, for treatments, which are often developed in publicly funded institutions like universities. The result is that treatment may be decided by cost rather than the patient's need.

We think that that the NHS should be extended to include, for example dental care.

You can find out more about TUSC, our election platform and what we stand for on the national website: www.tusc.org.uk

Please get in touch if you agree with our programme and would like to help in our campaign.

Ronnie Job, TUSC candidate, Swansea West

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".


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

No to TTIP! Response to 38 degrees question

I'm getting questions from 38 degrees members about my attitude to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. I am absolutely opposed to TTIP and delighted that there is a growing awareness of the dangers it represents.

TTIP opens up all public services to the threat of privatisation, not just health services, which is why I think it has been a weakness in much of the campaigning around the issue to concentrate only on removing health services. In any case, as you correctly point out, the NHS will still be at risk no matter what exclusions governments claim to have secured.

The Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition is fundamentally opposed to privatisation and is in favour of bringing privatised services, such as transport, energy, communications into democratic public ownership, along with the banks.

TTIP would be a serious obstacle to carrying any of that out. It is a threat to democracy; it is a shift in power from elected governments to giant corporations.

TUSC calls and campaigns for a rejection of TTIP.

Ronnie Job, TUSC PPC Swansea West

You can find out more about the position the TUSC steering committee has taken on opposing TTIP at

TUSC BACKS 38 DEGREES CAMPAIGN NO TO TTIP TAX THE RICH AND SAVE OUR NHS http://www.tusc.org.uk/17075/12-03-2015/tusc-backs-38-degrees-campaign-no-to-ttip-tax-the-rich-and-save-our-nhs

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.