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, 9 July 2015

Raising two fingers to Osborne's budget

Labour responses to Osborne's 'emergency' budget seem to fall into 2 general categories.

There is the "this is all a scam - this budget does nothing for the young (under 25s are excluded from Osborne's devalues 'Living Wage'), public sector workers (facing a four-year pay cap), disabled people (facing further cuts to the benefit safety net as part of £12bn cuts)."

This is undoubtedly true, these and other groups will again be worse off. Labour never uses the word "class" but the entire working class and swathes of the middle classes too will see a further eroding of their living standards as a result of this budget by the rich for the rich.

The other Labour response is a childish playground cry of "it's not fair - that's Ed Miliband's programme".

This is true as well. This devastating budget for the working class is full of policies that were either part of Labour's election programme or are championed by the current leadership.

Chris Leslie, the new Shadow Chancellor has pronounced himself in support of the public sector pay freeze. So despite the fact that many of us have seen our pay fall by 15-20% in real terms since the onset of recession, Labour has joined the Tories in wanting to cut pay further.

Labour peer, Frank Field, was making overtures to the Tories about reducing and scrapping working tax credits, just like Osborne has announced, in the run-up to the budget. Jeremy Corbyn aside, none of the Labour leadership contenders have been willing to oppose Tory plans to lower the benefits cap.

Osborne's 'Living Wage' (in reality a re-named minimum wage, without any reference to the real cost of living) is nowhere near adequate for workers to get by on and for many, won't make up for the working tax credits they will lose. But it is still £1 an hour more by 2020 than the figure Miliband promised (£8/hour) for the minimum wage during the election, also by 2020.

The Tories' have made a budget based on Labour policies and it is an attack on the working class. What more proof do we need that the working class need our own party? TUSC is laying the foundations for such a party and in the meantime we are supporting all those fighting back against Tory austerity.

The strikes of rail workers, civil servants and council workers on budget day were a big two fingers raised to Osborne's budget. This fighting response is the only appropriate one to Tory and Labour austerity.

Fight all cuts!
Strike to win!
Build TUSC!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Save EOTAS Swansea

I attended a great meeting of Save EOTAS Swansea last night, taking greetings and messages of support from Swansea Trades Council.

There are many varied reasons why pupils might need the extra, specialist help provided by the EOTAS (Education Other Than At School) service. What was abundantly clear from the testimony of pupils and former pupils, together with their parents, last night is that the service provides invaluable support to those that need it. Time and again the meeting heard how pupils had been able to successfully complete their school-age education and progress to college only with the assistance of dedicated staff.

It's a shame and a scandal that City and County of Swansea officers and the councillors of the ruling Labour Group are either not listening or are hearing and then ignoring, the evidence of EOTAS' success. They seem to determined to press ahead with cuts to the service which could see more than half the staff lose their jobs.

Staff, pupils and their families have been shabbily treated by the Council, which seems to repeatedly contradict itself, appears to have ridden rough-shod over the consultation process and has generally left both users and providers of the service in the dark about the exact nature of their proposals for cutting costs.

If Labour councillors and Council officers thought they would have an easy ride by targeting this relatively small group of staff as part of their plans to cut £24 million from education in Swansea over the next 3 years they were very much mistaken. Trade unionists have shown their determination to defend the service they are rightly proud of providing, by more than once taking strike action, the last time for 3 days.

Perhaps it's time to step up the political pressure on Labour councillors who make Tory cuts by threatening to stand no-cuts candidates from the campaign, against all those with a hand in making cuts in EOTAS, in the next council elections.

Defend education!
Save EOTAS Swansea!