Editors

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Nationalise Kautex Textron to save jobs!

Labour, Plaid and the other parties have no idea how to save these jobs.

Only TUSC candidates are calling for Kautex Textron and any other factories threatening job losses to be nationalised to save jobs.

The steel and automative industries will go the way of coal, with a similar devastating effect on our communities, unless Wales takes the socialist road.

https://caerphilly.observer/news/1000551/calls-to-save-220-jobs-at-kautex-textron-but-can-anything-actually-be-done/

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

End Racist Policing

Two young men have died at the hands of police in South Wales since 1st January. The killings of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan in Cardiff and Mouayed Bashir in Newport have brought out big crowds to demand justice.

Despite Covid restrictions, hundreds of brave, mainly young people have closed the streets in front of police stations, and led marches through the city centre determined to make their voices heard. They rightly say these terrible injustices deserve as much attention as deaths across the Atlantic. 

Fifteen Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests have taken place in South East Wales so far this year. In Cardiff and Newport, the local community is demanding answers.

From the start, the Socialist Party has demanded the immediate suspension of all the officers involved in the deaths. We call for independent inquiries to include representatives of the families, the local community and the trade unions, whose only interest is to secure justice. But we also call for democratic community control of the police, to stop these terrible miscarriages of justice happening in the first place.

In April, the Young Socialists organised a protest in Cardiff to build support for Siyanda Mngaza, jailed for trying to defend herself from a brutal, racist attack. There is also the case of 13-year-old Christopher Kapessa whose death in the River Cynon in 2019 was never properly investigated.

The Socialist Party has played a prominent role speaking at BLM protests and in securing support for Siyanda, Mohamud, Mouayied, and the wider BLM movement from trades councils, trade unions and the Wales Trades Union Congress.

The trade unions are where millions of workers are organised. We call on the trade unions to make their opposition to institutional racism visible by bringing trade union banners out on BLM protests. But also to play their part in fighting to create a new party for workers that has a political programme to end racism and inequality. Socialist Party members are standing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) as part of that process.

If you have been fighting for justice in the BLM protests, vote for TUSC on 6 May

Mariam Kamish

TUSC Candidate in the Senedd elections

Promoted by Dave Warren, TUSC Wales secretary, on behalf of TUSC Wales, 29 Tir Y Farchnad, Gowerton SA4 3GS

A political alternative for black and Asian people

The Socialist Party, as part of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), recognises the disproportionate way black and Asian people are affected by the pandemic, and within the capitalist system itself.

In recent anti-racist protests, we have seen black and Asian youth fighting the inequality within the system. In workplaces, we are seeing workers coming out to fight for better pay and conditions.

We are now seeing more black and Asian people looking for a real alternative, including in the ballot box, that will improve their lives and livelihoods.

Voting for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the upcoming election is an opportunity to vote against cuts, to send a message that we want an alternative to the current miserable conditions facing ordinary people.

Traditionally, black and Asian people have seen Labour as the party for them. But the Labour Party under Keir Starmer is not a party that represents our interests. It is turning more and more towards big business and the capitalists. One in five Labour MPs are now black or minority ethnic. But that’s not enough. It is the policies that they stand on that matter.

TUSC stands for a decent future for all: an end to low pay and insecure jobs and for more funding for youth services, NHS and schools.

TUSC is based on the working class and it is therefore not surprising that there are a number of black and Asian workers and young people standing as candidates. It is an example of how a real fighting socialist programme can encourage black and Asian people to be involved in the fightback.

Cammilla Mngaza

TUSC candidate for South Wales East

Promoted by Dave Warren, TUSC Wales secretary, on behalf of TUSC Wales, 29 Tir Y Farchnad, Gowerton SA4 3GS

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Fight for the Care Services We Need

 

The failure to protect the elderly and vulnerable during the COVID pandemic has highlighted systemic flaws in the social care system. Social care provision is fragmented, with the vast majority of care homes in the UK operated by private companies for profit or charities.

During the second wave of the pandemic, care homes were the largest source of multi – infection incidents according to official data, with ‘acute respiratory infection incidents’ in care homes more than doubling from 364 to 749 across the UK in the fortnight to 3rd January.

The Welsh Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition stands for a publicly operated and fully funded national care service for residential, nursing and home care. 

We also promote the health and safety, well - being and financial remuneration of all staff, who should be directly employed by the public sector service. NHS workers have marched to demand a 15% pay rise in the wake of the pandemic. Workers in social care should receive a similar double digit pay rise. TUSC will fully support trade union action to achieve this.

We value the selfless work of unpaid carers and recognise that an improvement in the integration and funding of professional care as suggested above would alleviate the burden on them and provide the support they need. We believe that if carers are unable to work due to their caring responsibilities, they ought to receive benefits equivalent to the national living wage. As an immediate measure, we support a substantial increase in the level of benefits available to them.


A manifesto for socialist change in Wales

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing in all five regions in the 2021 Senedd elections, allowing every voter in Wales to vote for a real socialist alternative.

The manifesto below is the minimum basis on which TUSC candidates stand, and our minimum offer to every voter in Wales.

But it is a minimum, not a limit to the issues that candidates will raise and pledge to fight on. Every trade unionist, anti-cuts campaigner, community activist and all those who want to see an alternative to austerity politicians can become a TUSC candidate. But voters should know that any Member of the Senedd elected under the TUSC banner will fight for these manifesto demands.

(If you are using a mobile device, you may find it more convenient to click here to read in fullscreen)


Promoted by Dave Warren, TUSC Wales secretary, on behalf of TUSC Wales, 29 Tir Y Farchnad, Gowerton SA4 3GS

Monday, 26 April 2021

Wales Needs Rent Control and Council Housing


John Williams

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing in all five regions in Wales, meaning that every voter will have the chance to back anti-austerity socialist campaigning candidates.

Across Britain there are over 300 TUSC candidates standing in the local elections in England and parliamentary elections in Scotland and Wales in this first year that TUSC has resumed activity since Jeremy Corbyn was removed as Labour leader.

Candidates in Wales include Black Lives Matter activists like Cammilla Mngaza and Melanie Benedict, leading Welsh trade unionists like Mark Evans and Mariam Kamish and leaders of student rent strike campaigns like Oisín Mulholland and Michelle Francis.

TUSC supporters welcome the development of community organisations, such as Acorn, that fight for tenants' and workers' rights. Describing itself as a 'community-based union', Acorn's demands include a 'renter's manifesto' that TUSC members fully endorse.

TUSC Wales agreed on the 14th February this year its core policies for the Senedd elections. These include calling on the Welsh government to introduce:

  • A complete ban on no-fault evictions
  • Rent control to cut rents, overseen by tribunals of tenants’ representatives and trade unionists.
  • A mass building programme of eco-friendly affordable council homes to tackle the housing crisis, controlled by working-class communities to prevent overcrowding and ensure the provision of all necessary services including green spaces.

Solutions for the housing crisis


TUSC is standing because none of the mainstream parties are willing to even scratch the surface of what’s needed to solve the housing crisis or the other problems ordinary people are facing. There needs to be a radical shift in the balance of power from those who are exploiting housing as a means of making profits to those who use housing as somewhere to live. We need rent control now, for the public and private sector - for too long rents have skyrocketed for working class people and students.

Rent tribunals need to be brought back, where a tenant could bring their landlord to account if their rent is too high, and they should be run not by the establishment but by people who understand the struggles of ordinary people.

We need real security of tenancy, starting with a ban on no-fault evictions. Welsh Labour’s pre-election promise to extend the tenancy period is not enough - it will mean at most a delay in revenge eviction by landlords who want to punish tenants who stand up for their rights. Revenge eviction should be abolished: no one should have the power to make you homeless.

Even before the economic damage of the pandemic, it’s estimated that 4000 people were homeless in Cardiff. Many more are vulnerably housed and the majority face unaffordable housing and living costs. Action during the pandemic wiped out homelessness for a period - demonstrating that it is possible to do so. But in normal times thousands of homes lie empty - landbank by speculators - and powers to compulsorily purchase homes lie unused by bodies like Cardiff Council because the mainstream parties which have run the city have not been willing to stand with tenants against the landlords and letting agents.

We need to increase the supply of housing in cities like Cardiff and we need a regional plan drawn up for homes, jobs and transport to distribute resources in the most efficient way. A mass programme of council-house building, reversing the changes brought in by Margaret Thatcher which have boosted landlordism not private ownership.

We welcome creative proposals like those advanced by Acorn to give public bodies “first refusal” on sales of homes as a means of increasing public housing. We have similar demands ourselves, including shortly after the crash of 2007/8 when we managed to get an independent socialist Assembly Member to raise a proposal in the Senedd to permit struggling homeowners to exchange unaffordable mortgage payments for affordable council rents, transferring the asset.

Failed by the other parties


The failure of Labour, Plaid Cymru, Liberal and Green-run councils to fight the cuts demanded by the Tories in Westminster has also assisted unscrupulous landlords to shirk their responsibilities to tenants. The law protected tenants’right is inadequate, but even if it were perfect the inadequacy of the current resources devoted to its enforcement would mean that tenants would be left unprotected. In Cardiff, a city of a third of a million people, Cardiff Council has just 6 enforcement officers to respond to reports of health and safety breaches in housing, and are discussing further “efficiencies” which could made to this team by sharing services across other authorities.

TUSC says no more cuts. We need representatives who will fight to save jobs and for the funding necessary for the services we need.

Domestic abuse deaths doubled during pandemic, after demand for services doubled over the decade but funding for refuges has been cut in real terms in Cardiff when they should have been expanded to meet the needs of all, including the LGBTQ+ community, some of whom are fleeing homophobic and transphobic homes, or have been forced to go into the closet since the pandemic. TUSC candidates are unique in having pledged to defy demands for cuts and to support legal needs-based budgets to provide the services for all who need them.

Similarly, the Welsh Labour government has proven conclusively that it will not act decisively to tackle the housing crisis. Just as they have done this year, before the last Senedd elections Welsh promised to solve the housing crisis with new laws like the Renting Homes (Wales) Act and Housing (Wales) Act.

At the time, TUSC supporters organised a March for Homes and set up Housing Action Committees to organise and demand the bold measures necessary to meet this basic need. We won a pledge to scrap upfront agency fees but the key demands for rent control and to increase the housing supply through an expansion of council housing was ignored.

Even the positive (although inadequate) measures like landlord registration and training were chronically delayed once the election was over. In the meantime the most unscrupulous landlords and letting agents have tightened their grip on the rental market. The scrapping of upfront agency fees have proved worthless because Welsh Labour was not willing to bolster it with rent control, so landlords merely tacked the extra charges onto rent.

TUSC is different


TUSC was founded by campaigners who concluded that anyone who has had the experience of campaigning against cuts to services, to save jobs, to fight for housing right or for justice for ordinary people would do a better jobs than the representatives of parties who are entirely in hock to big business or won’t stand up to them. We need a new party, controlled and run democratically by ordinary working-class and committed to fighting for a socialist society run by the millions not the millionaires.

My own testimony


“I’ve had too much experience of the housing experience in cardiff, since I moved here in 2014 for university. I’ve had to move house at least every 9 months- I’ve rented with every housing agency that’s going, and I can tell you most of them are cowboys, vultures and bullies.

“On the day we were meant to move into a house in Grangetown, to our surprise the previous tenants were still living there. With no sign at all that they were planning on moving out. We rang up the agency to find out what was going on who told us that it was our responsibility to kick out the previous people living there! 

“After much arguing, the agency then conceded, and soon after a white van came along, which the previous tenants quickly gathering essentials and all 10 of them left. The house was exactly as they left it. It was only the morning after that the agency got cleaners around to make the house liveable. It became clear to us that the agency was illegally allowing 10 migrant workers live in a house meant for 4. Who knows what was really going on. What would have happened if the police got involved?

“I moved into the house I’m living at now last September- but it was only 2 months or so that the house met legal requirements. We had an open man hole, a leaking downstairs toilet, the upstairs shower leaked into downstairs, a part of the ceiling collapsed, none of the doors met health and safety fire requirements, and a whole lot more. What was staggering is that every time we made a fuss to get it sorted, they made us feel like we were being picky and annoying, and that we had ‘to work with them’ to find a compromise. Most housing agencies feel like they can get away with anything.”

Promoted by Dave Warren, TUSC Wales secretary, on behalf of TUSC Wales, 29 Tir Y Farchnad, Gowerton SA4 3GS

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Vote Gareth Bromhall - a Socialist Voice for Swansea's Castle Ward


Gareth Bromhall is standing as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate for Castle ward in order to challenge the savage cuts to the city budget that have been carried out by the Labour administration at Swansea council.

About Gareth

Gareth says: "the residents of Castle ward need a socialist voice that will fight for them in the council chamber and fight alongside them in our community".

Gareth Bromhall is a Sandfields resident, a committed trade unionist and community activist.

As a longstanding member of Swansea Socialist Party he has been involved in and led campaigns to defend the NHS and fought against council cuts over the past decade. As a Unite branch officer and secretary of Swansea Trades Union Council he has organised support and solidarity for workers on picket lines across the city.

A graduate of Swansea University Medical School, Gareth is now a key worker supporting vulnerable young people in Swansea.

As a disabled activist, Gareth has been involved in advocacy and support for disabled people, supporting campaigns and giving advice and support on benefits and access to services.

Fighting to Stop Council Cuts

Despite all the allegedly glowing achievements coming out from the Swansea Labour council's propaganda machine, residents in Castle ward and across the city witness on a daily basis the reality of years of cuts, cuts and more cuts.

Over the past five years Labour has obediently implemented over £70 million of Tory cuts, affecting every area of council services, from social services, education, street cleaning, leisure - you name it and its been cut! At the same time council tax payments go up at twice the rate of inflation or more every year.

Action on Fly-Tipping and Litter

Castle ward is unfortunately referred to as the "city centre rubbish tip" where fly-tipping scars the landscape. Accumulated street filth constantly litter our residential streets in the Sanfields, Waun Wen, North Hill and Mount Pleasant.

This is a direct consequence of Swansea Labour councils not being prepared to fight the Tory government for the resources needed to employ more council workers and instead, unbelievable, Labour councillors actually appeal to residents to voluntarily clean up their own streets!

Continuing council cuts mean that our young, elderly, and most vulnerable residents are increasingly neglected and all of us see our quality of life deteriorate as council venues, sports facilities, and leisure servies face regular price increases, back-door privatisation, or closure.

With another £55 million of cuts projected over the next four years, the excuses from Labour councillors that "there is nothing we can do" is not acceptable.

If they won't stand up to Tory cuts then they should step aside so that socialist councillors can organise with the trade unions and community campaigners to set a "no-cuts budget" and mobilise to fight the Tory government for the resources we need to run our services.

A working class voice at the ballot box

Labour councillors, MPs and MSs have offered no opposition to the Tories. We need a mass party of our own to put forward a real anti-austerity alternative, and give a voice to workers who have risked their lives, and lost their jobs, homes and loved ones during the pandemic.

Gareth is a Socialist Party member. The Socialist Party is standing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. TUSC was set up to enable trade unionists, community campaigners, and socialists to stand together against the pro-austerity establishment parties. It is a beginning - a step towards the kind of party we need to deliver a socialist alternative to austerity.

Promoted by Dave Warren, TUSC Wales secretary, on behalf of TUSC Wales, 29 Tir Y Farchnad, Gowerton SA4 3GS