Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition | 29.04.2014 12:46 | Workers' Movements
TUSC was co-founded by the late Bob Crow, when he was general secretary of the RMT transport union, along with socialist organisations. Sadly, Bob passed away earlier this year. But this spurred many RMT members to stand in his memory - of someone who fought for a political voice for working class people. There are a total of 49 RMT members standing across the country.
Activists from unions that are affiliated to the Labour Party are standing, including 137 Unite members. Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, warned that if Labour did not represent working class people his union would set up a new party. The work being carried out by TUSC is an important step towards a new workers' party.
Dave Nellist, the former Labour MP (1983-92) and now the national chair of TUSC, said: "TUSC is an organisation that represents the working class. Our candidates are people who are active campaigners in their trade unions, in local areas against hated government policies like the bedroom tax, and striking workers fighting pay cuts like the Care UK workers in Doncaster. The RMT, representing 80,000 members, voted at its annual conference in 2012 to be officially represented in TUSC".
"We are standing because the Labour Party has not provided an opposition in government, and where it is in power at a local level, it has carried out cuts to jobs and services. It does not matter to those people who have lost their jobs which party was responsible. What matters is having a choice to vote against the cuts on May 22nd and now people do".
"The handful of Labour councillors, such as the two in Southampton who have voted against cuts budgets, have been suspended from the Labour Party. Keith Morrell, one of the rebel councillors in Southampton, is standing under the TUSC umbrella this year".
Clive Heemskerk, the national election agent of TUSC, said: "There are still one or two nominations that have yet to be confirmed but to reach a final tally of hopefully 561 TUSC council candidates is a significant achievement. The steering committee had actually authorised over 580 candidates but inevitable withdrawals through illness etc, and also, unfortunately, the obstructive attitude of a handful of council Returning Officers during the nomination process, have pared us back".
"We haven't quite reached the BBC's threshold for 'fair media coverage' in the local elections although TUSC has smashed through it in a number of TV news regions (Look North, Midlands Today, Spotlight and Points West), where the broadcasting guidelines also apply. And the number of candidates we have achieved will give us strong arguments in discussions with media organisations".
"But most importantly, giving working class people an opportunity to come together under one umbrella to fight the austerity parties at the ballot box is creating confidence that something can be done, a new working class political alternative can be built".
The full list of TUSC candidates can be found at http://www.tusc.org.uk/txt/296.pdf
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition