Wednesday, 31 March 2010

What's going on in my union?

Much as it pains me to say it, I am almost as concerned about what my union is up to nationally as I am about the antics of the employer.

When Unison was founded some 17 years ago from the merger of three public sector unions, it was loudly proclaimed that it would be a democratic, member-led union in which dissent and discussion would not only be tolerated but positively encouraged.

But in 2010, it is hard to see much of those noble aspirations still intact.  Over the past few years, we have seen a concerted attack by sections of the full-time bureaucracy of the union upon anyone regarded as being "on the left".....and "left" in this context can even include members and supporters of Labour.  Quite often these attacks happen in concert with attacks by the employer, and in some cases it has been impossible not to conclude that active collusion has gone on.

Take the case of Yunus Baksh,  secretary of a health service branch, who was simultaneously hit by accusations of "bullying" by both the Trust which employed him and by regional officials of Unison.  Yunus ended up both sacked from his job and expelled from the union to which he had given years of unpaid service. His branch was taken under regional control, with the employer facilitating the entry of regional officials onto Trust property to "seize" the branch office.  It later transpired that there was clear evidence that the trumped-up charges against Yunus were racially motivated and moreover that BNP members and supporters inside the Union were helping to orchestrate the campaign against him.  Unison has persisted in a state of denial about this evidence and has done nothing about it.

Other branches get taken over and their democratically-elected officers turfed out, because some regional official decides that the branch is "failing".  This happened in the Newham local government branch, where, for good measure, the regional bureaucrats installed a senior manager as the new branch secretary!

Fast forward to today and the case of "The Four".  Local government Branch activists who were disciplined for the "crime" of questioning the decisions of the Conference Standing Orders Committee (this was the fallback charge after the original outrageous allegation of "racism" against the Four failed to stand up).  These activists were duly banned from holding office in the union for varying amounts of time.  Using this as a pretext, their branches have now also been taken over by regional officials mounting dawn raids to gain entry to branch offices and remove computers and other equipment.  No prizes for guessing who let them into council property to do this.

The common denominator in all of this is not hard to see - Yunus is a member of the Socialist Workers Party; the Four are members of the Socialist Party (in fact the Four were originally Five - it was the non-SP member who got off with no case to answer!)  I am not a member of either of these organisations (not that this necessarily makes me safe) and I do not always agree with them, but the use of organisational devices to settle political scores belongs to a bygone age of Stalinism.  You would have thought that we would have left this behind long ago.

I should add here that leaving or refusing to join the union is precisely the wrong way to protest against this.  Workers need to join Unison in order that we can reclaim the union for its original and proper purpose.

All this is going on against a backdrop of a pay freeze in local government, which comes into effect in 35 minutes from when I am writing this.  There has been no attempt by Unison nationally to do anything about this - the possibility of taking action alongside our brothers and sister in PCS this month passed us by.  We are also facing an onslaught on jobs in local government and in the NHS - Unison's two biggest sections.

But my union's leadership is too busy attacking conscientious and talented branch activists to lift a finger against any of this. 

Monday, 29 March 2010

Kemptown, TUSC and the Greens

A few days ago,  a Green Party activist, Sven Rufus, posted a comment to an earlier article about the TUSC election campaign in Kemptown.  Sven questioned why TUSC was standing when its policies are the same as the Greens'.  Here, Dave Bangs, a TUSC and Respect activist, offers a response to further the debate........

Hi Sven

You raise important points. Here’s a personal response to your piece from a local Respect member and strong TUSC supporter.

You say that TUSC policies merely replicate Green Party policies and imply that we should stand aside in Kemp Town for your candidate.

The Labour Party, too, though, had exemplary socialist policies written into its constitution (“for the nationalisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange…”etc) and sometimes into its manifestos (such as in 1983). In practice, though, it was a party that red-baited, broke strikes and attacked trade union power, imposed austerity cuts, abstained from key struggles (like the miners’ strike), and supported wars and imperialism world-wide at all the crucial turning points in the class struggle.

I feel pretty strongly about that because I was a Labour Party activist for twenty years.

There are other even better examples of the difference between words and deeds on the anti-capitalist left. The old communist parties had paper positions of detailed support for formal democracy where they ruled in the Stalinist states, and a propaganda of democracy around the world, yet their practice was as different from their policies as chalk is from cheese.

My own experience of the Green Party is very much coloured by my involvement in the last two years of the exhausting five year local campaign against council housing privatization. During this struggle the Green Party position was one of total abstention from the Defend Council Housing campaign, mixed with low level hostility. (I well remember local Green Party leadership accusations that DCH was an SWP front, for instance). Your Party, indeed, supported the ‘ALMO’ option, which is a half way step towards full privatisation via the privatization of council housing management.

The Greens took this position whilst describing themselves as the anti-privatisation party…
If it hadn’t been for the praiseworthy participation by Rachel Fryer in one of our final leafletting sessions leading up to the tenants ballot I would have given the Greens zero out of 100 for their efforts. To be sure, the Party did produce a pre-ballot mass leaflet calling for a ‘no’ vote, but the leaflet was so ambivalent and confused that DCH had to veto participating in its distribution.

I think that many progressive Green (and Labour) councillors never read the small print of the deal (so to speak) when they agreed to stand for their councils. The deal plainly says that if you want to be an effective class leader and tribune as a councillor you have to be prepared to take illegal action on behalf of your people, such as voting for deficit budgets, supporting illegal strike actions, risking surcharge and disqualification from office, prison, and sustained abuse from the mass media.
The times we live in mean that we will not be able to defend our people and advance green solutions to the crisis of nature and its systems UNLESS we are prepared to go to those lengths.

The Poplar councillors stood up to all those attacks in the early 1920’s. So did the Clay Cross councillors after the 1973 Housing Act, and so did the Militant leadership of Liverpool Council in 1984/5. And actually, at that time, Dave Hill (the Brighton Kemptown TUSC candidate in the 2010 general election) led the East Sussex Labour councillors in joining the Labour Groups in Liverpool and Lambeth in their `deficit budget' stategy, refusing to accept the Thatcher cuts. If only every Labour council and group of councillors had! If only Labour had councillors like that now!

Lansbury and his fellow Labour and communist councillors in Poplar in the 1920’s were driven off to Pentonville and Holloway, where they continued to run their council from their prison cells, whilst a brass band of tenants and workers from Poplar serenaded them from below the prison walls… They won most of their demands.

Many of the Clay Cross councillors and their supporters in other areas were surcharged. Frank Dobson (my old MP for Kings Cross) was still paying his surcharge years later.

Derek Hatton was villified and slandered and abandoned by many in the Labour Party and on the rest of the left for his leadership of Liverpool Council, but none of the charges directed at him stuck.
George Galloway was slandered repeatedly after his anti-war and pro-Palestine break from the Labour Party, and the slanders were believed by many on the left, and may be still, though there is not a shred of evidence for them.

I don’t see those kinds of principled stances in the Green Party. I see local Parties participating in coalitions with the main neo-liberal parties and voting for privatisations and service cuts. Abroad, I see Green Parties which are no different from other pro-capitalist parties, and which support imperialist wars and austerity.
Locally I see this opportunism in the local Party, which (to use an example close to my heart) just voted for a version of the Core Strategy which contained contingency policies for building on urban fringe downland that should have been included in the National Park, and for park and ride options which environmentalists have denounced.

Pete West, I am told, was the only Green councillor who voted against this opportunism and warned the rest of the Green Group that their vote would come back and haunt them.

I hope it does.

I don’t believe that the Green Party has earned the right to assume the hegemonic leadership of the Brighton left which your stance, Sven, implies. I am an ecosocialist and my own organization (Socialist Resistance) is an ecosocialist organization. I feel that both TUSC and Respect better represent our views than the Green Party, even in their present local left stance.

We are going through a period of political recomposition of the left, with a number of initiatives having local support around the country. In the Green Party I can see that the Green Left of Derek Wall and Sean Thompson and its local members are doing grand work.

It will take time for these different strands to come together in a new party of the working class, but it is very important that none of these initiatives assume that they have a right to a monopoly of left representation.
It is only very recently, with the deals between Manchester and Birmingham Respect and Green Parties, that the Greens have shifted a little bit from their head-banging refusal to negotiate appropriate representation for other left initiatives with local credibility at the head of the bill in local elections, but the Greens are still standing against Respect candidates such as George Galloway and Abjol Miah who have a realistic chance of being elected. Hardly non-sectarian!

Your piece seems too close for comfort to those old Green politics of ‘we will stand against you whoever you are if you are not in our Party’…

Dave Bangs

Saturday, 27 March 2010

BA - a company out of control

It was a great honour last Thursday to have a a BA cabin crew rep from


Unite/Bassa to speak at my union branch AGM. What he (I won't name him) had to say needs to be heard by so many people. What he detailed was a catalogue of lies, bullying and union-busting by one of Britain's largest companies.

The basic pay of cabin crew is around £14,000 - giving the lie to the BA spin about high pay. Indeed the union offered up a pay cut to help with the company's finances - an offer the company spurned. You don't often read about that in the papers.

At BA headquarters a "graffitti wall" was erected, on which BA staff were invited to write attacks on cabin crew - it came down when it became public knowledge. All part of BA's "strategy" to divide cabin crew from other parts of the BA workforce.

The speaker also told us about the 747 which flies in circles around Gatwick on strike days, carrying no passengers, putting pointless carbon into the atmosphere, and the take-off and landing of empty planes - all in pursuit of BA's propaganda offensive.

It is quite clear (as the article below demonstrates) that this dispute isn't about money; it's about breaking trade unionism in BA cabin crew. That's why, if the cabin crew win, we all do.

The AGM voted to donate £500 to the strikers's hardship fund and I urge other trade unionists to give what they can.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

BA dispute - the truth

Amid all the spin and distortion from the Tory press, this article about a week ago from the Airstrikes blog is a welcome antidote. The blog is produced by the Socialist Party, which I don't belong to, but it carries the background to the dispute and counters the lies you hear elsewhere.







The announcement of dates for strike action opens up a new chapter in the ongoing dispute between management and cabin crew.

To briefly recap this current dispute was triggered by BA management tearing up the contracts of cabin crew in November last year. This was done by reducing the number of crew on board flights, changes to the role of the CSD (Cabin Service Director, basically the lead member of the cabin crew team in flight) and proposals to bring in new starters on inferior pay and conditions.

In a final throw of the dice to resolve the dispute UNITE offered a pay cut of 2.6% and agreed to new contracts for new starters on inferior terms and conditions. The key sticking point was management’s refusal to allow these new starters to work alongside existing crew. Instead management proposes a so called “New Fleet” where lower paid crew will work separately on different planes and routes to existing cabin crew. This is as a bridge too far for cabin crew for two reasons.

Firstly having new crew on different planes would make it much more difficult to recruit them into the union with a view to eventually bringing their terms and conditions up to the level of their longer standing colleagues. Instead there would be a significant number of workers outside the union thus weakening the negotiating position of cabin crew in any future dispute.

Secondly the existence of a “New Fleet” would have an immediate effect on members pay. Basic pay for the bulk of cabin crew is very low. Some new starters are on as little as £14,000. Cabin crew can top up their earning through allowances paid while they are “downrange” i.e. traveling to different destinations in the course of their work. The amount they receive is different for each destination with the best paid routes being long distance destinations like Tokyo, LA, Sydney etc. Therefore if a new separate fleet on lower allowances comes into existence then there is no question which fleet management will use for the longer, more lucrative routes.

While the Socialist Party does not advocate offering up pay cuts in talks, management’s stubborn refusal to compromise on the “New Fleet” shows that cost savings concerns are largely secondary to undermining one of the strongest organised section of the BA workforce.

UNITE Deputy General Secretary Len McClusky voiced similar suspicions when he said managements negotiating tactics has “led to the view that BA management’s real agenda is destroying trade unionism among its employees.”

BA management is hell bent on destroying trade unionism because cabin crew is in a powerful industrial position. From the moment cabin crew strike planes will stop flying. The company will hemorrhage money every minute those planes sit on the tarmac. Since at the end of the day all that really matters to any capitalist is the bottom line this is a fearsome prospect for management.

Therefore through out this dispute management’s strategy has been to delay industrial action for as long as possible through protracted negotiations, vague promises that never materialize and ultimately attacking a democratic strike ballot through the courts. In the meantime a barrage of harassment and intimidation has opened up on cabin crew in the hope of undermining their will to take industrial action. The final fall back for management is to recruit a scab army to replace cabin crew during the dispute.

Management have been spinning to the press that they will be able to minimize disruption through various means.

BA has leased 23 fully crewed planes. They have also put out a call for “volunteers” from employees in other parts of the company to scab on cabin crew. In reality the majority of “volunteers” are from management, marketing and a minority of pilots. Regular reader will be aware BALPA, the union representing pilots; have been equivocal over their own members at BA volunteering to scab on another union. This has given the impression BA pilots are behind management. However in recent days it has emerged that a serious polarization has opened up in BALPA. Many BALPA members are concerned about the long term consequences for relations between pilots and cabin crew if a section of the BALPA membership were to scab in this dispute.

In a bizarre twist it has emerged a suspected terrorist has offered to help out BA management by scabbing on the strike. This will hardly be reassuring to BA travelers that Wille Walsh and co not only displays poor management skills in the industrial relations field but also appalling judgment when it comes to protecting the safety of customers.

Some aviation “experts” have stated that with a scab army BA will be able to run a service out of Gatwick and London City airports. That will mean, in their words “the strike cannot be as effective as Unite would like it to be”. However any turn to these airports from Terminal 5 in Heathrow is a sign of weakness on the part of BA.

Terminal 5 is BA’s main base with 650 “movements” (flights in and out) a day. Gatwick and City Airport have nowhere near the capacity to cover enough movements to seriously undermine the strike. On top of this the bulk of the scabs will be coming from Waterside, management HQ in Heathrow, which raises transport and parking issues.

The reality is BA will be lucky to cobble together a poorly trained crew of novices a fraction of the size of the experienced cabin crew. BA may well be able to put up a skeleton service for PR purposes but there is no question industrial action over a number of days will hit the company hard.

There is a huge feeling of anger amongst cabin crew and a desire to fight these attacks, which has been shown by two overwhelming majorities for strike action in consecutive ballots and well-supported mass meetings. We can also expect a propaganda offensive to open up on cabin crew by the media in the run up to the strike. The labour movement should not allow cabin crew to be bullied by the press as happened in December. Len McClusky has stated UNITE will be calling on the whole of the labour movement to back the strike. This is a good start. A march on Waterside organised and led by cabin crew but calling on workers at Heathrow and the wider labour movement to support and participate could be a focal point for rallying support for the dispute. This could then build the momentum for targeted picket action on Gatwick and City Airport if those airports are used by scab crew.


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Thursday, 18 March 2010

Sussex University management not worth a Farthing

Sussex Six reinstated.

The hapless management at Sussex University have been forced into a humiliating climbdown by strikes and solidarity. The six students suspended for occupying against the cuts have been reinstated after students responded with more occupations. These coincided with a strike by lecturers against the threatened 115 redundancies.

Clearly the university's over-remunerated and arrogant Vice Chancellor didn't fancy fighting on that many fronts at once.

Coming on top of the sight of another bullying boss - Willy Walsh of BA - being forced back to the negotiating table by international workers' solidarity - it's been a good day!


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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

How you can help the TUSC campaign in Kemptown


Dave Hill has been in touch with some information about how you can help the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition campaign in Kemptown.

Sun 21 MarLeafleting/Canvassing. Queens Park ward. Meet outside main entrance to St. James’ House (large council tower block) High Street, 11am, near bottom of St James’ St. Leaflet Tarner (council estate) and the council blocks of flats along Edward St and Upper St. James St and the Albion Hill estate

Thurs 25 MarTUSC national general election rally. Friends Meeting House, Euston Rd., London 7.30pm

Sun 28 MarLeafletting in Moulscoomb ward, council estate Meet at Dave Bangs’ house, 78 Ewhurst Road off Bear Rd, 11am.

Sun 4 AprLeafletting in Whitehawk, council estate Meet outside LIDL, junction of Arundel Rd and eastern Rd.., 11am.

Sun 11 AprilLeafleting/Canvassing. Peacehaven. (to be confirmed… may change) Meet Big Mouth Burger Bar on the main coast road, South Coast Road, junction with Horsham Avenue
The Brighton TUSC Facebook is at http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=328024422940&ref=nf

The Brighton TUSC blogspot is at http://brightontusc.blogspot.com/

£££££££ Donations/ Campaign Contributions: Cheques payable to:
DAVE HILL TUSC BRIGHTON KEMPTOWN ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Direct Bank Payments to Santander bank Account Number 47032426 Sort Code 090127

Sussex University UCU on strike tomorrow to defend higher education

Academic staff at Sussex University, members of the Universities and Colleges Union, will be on strike tomorrow (18 March) to oppose the university management's plan to cut jobs, and their refusal to even negotiate.

A total of 19 members of senior management now "earn" in excess of £100,000 a year for "running" the university, but yet good quality education is under threat.

UCU has the full support of the students who are waging their own campaign against the cuts. Here is the UCU statement on the dispute -

Members of UCU at the University of Sussex have today announced that they will be out on strike on Thursday 18 March.

At a packed emergency general meeting, members unanimously passed a motion that called for the strike action in response to the university's refusal to agree to talks or remove the threat of compulsory redundancies. The union also confirmed that there will be lobby of a university senate meeting on Wednesday 17 March. The senate was originally due to meet on Friday 5 March to discuss putting the university's plans to axe jobs on hold. However, after a ballot of UCU members was declared overwhelmingly in favour of strike action on Wednesday 3 March, the meeting was postponed.

Full details of the lobby and strike will be announced later this week. Although the union made it clear today that it still hoped to reach a negotiated settlement on the issue of 115 job losses.

Immediately after the meeting, the students' union reiterated its support for the union's actions. UCU Sussex representative, Paul Cecil said: 'Industrial action is an absolute last resort, but the university's unwillingness to enter into meaningful negotiations, even through the conciliatory service ACAS, has forced our hand. The bottom line is that serious job losses will impact massively on the quality of education and services we can offer here at Sussex, which will result in a far worse experience for students.'

Tom Wills, University of Sussex Students' Union (USSU) president, said: 'We are right behind Sussex staff and the principled stand they are taking in defence of their jobs and our education. We understand that strike action by staff may be the key to winning this battle and we will do everything we can to support it. We will hold university management responsible for disruption to our education resulting from the strike - but moreover we will hold management responsible for the devastation that will be wrought on our education if they succeed in pushing through their cuts proposals.' The full motion on strike action passed at the meeting:

'This branch resolves to take industrial action in the form of a one-day strike on Thursday 18 March in response to the refusal by management to (i) accept mediation by ACAS and (ii) to remove the threat of compulsory redundancies. The branch further resolves to take industrial action, in the form a strike action or action short of a strike in the summer term, with details to be announced following a further general meeting.'

Dan Ashley press@ucu.org.ukTel:020 7756 2600Mobile: 07789 518 992Fax:020 7756 2501

Alex Rossiter press@ucu.org.ukTel:020 7756 2598Mobile: 07977 562 686Fax:020 7756 2501

Monday, 15 March 2010

Things we CAN afford

Are you tired of hearing about how we all have to tighten our belts?

Well, you'll pleased to know that life isn't so tough for everyone in the public sector.

Yes...quite a little list is forming of things we apparently can afford.

1.5% pay rise for MPs - despite them calling for a pay freeze for everyone else in the public sector.

1% rise for Brighton and Hove City councillors despite them wanting sack 100 staff (or replace them with cheap "apprentices").

Use of 5-star hotel accommodation by the council for....job interviews.

Employment of expensive agency staff (no open competition) to "communicate" the "value for money" agenda of the Council (stop laughing at the back!)

Newly published figures show huge rises in the pay of university vice chancellors and other university bosses at a time when massive cuts in higher education are being proposed. 19 senior staff at Sussex earn over £100,000 pa.


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Thursday, 11 March 2010

Something's happening......

This week we had a civil servants' strike against attacks on redundancy pay. Next week Sussex University lecturers will strike against massive cuts in jobs which will seriously damage higher education. Track maintenance workers on the railways have also just voted for action to stop cuts in track maintenance, cuts which threaten the safety of travellers. And we also have the prospect of a strike by BA workers. We have also seen a hugely spirited campaign by Sussex students to protect education in the face of huge intimidation by an arrogant university administration.

What all of these events show is that, increasingly, people are fed up with being the fall-guys for capitalism's cock-ups.

Hopefully it also shows that workers are also fed up with the attempts of politicians, bosses and right-wing pundits to set workers against each other, whether it be on the basis of whether they work in the public or private sector, whether they might get a paltry pay rise or none, whether they still have some pension rights, or whether they have a job or are unemployed. One of the best things about the civil service strike was the sight of claimants on the picketlines alongside Jobcentre workers.

After the March for Jobs last weekend, and with a rejuvenated Trades Council locally, we are in a position to build real solidarity with these struggles.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Successful launch of TUSC election campaign for Kemptown


Candidate Dave Hill declares his solidarity with the Sussex Six (video below). Bob Crow of RMT and Hannah Sell of the Socialist Party also spoke at the meeting, attended by 50 people.

Dave spoke about his own political background, growing up in the East End and joining Labour at 16, going on to be a Labour Councillor and parliamentary candidate. He described his break with Labour as it morphed into New Labour, the party of big business.

Bob Crow talked about how the Labour Party was formed, ironically by the rail union which was a forerunner of the RMT. He said that, in many ways, we are back to that time. We need a new party to stand for working people in the face of the three parties, who offer a choice of "cuts now or cuts a bit later"

This message was reinforced by Hannah Sell, and she and the other speakers also warned that if the left does not get itself together, the far right is waiting to take advantage.



video

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Friday, 5 March 2010

Local Government pensions - Taxpayers Alliance lie machine at work again

The "Taxpayers" Alliance, the right-wing ginger group of rentaquotes so beloved by the tabloids (and occasionally the gullible BBC), has been at it again on the Local Government Pension Scheme. It is making apocalyptic claims about a "black hole" in the LGPS......but it bases this on a straight comparison of assets against liabilities. Under this "formula" the only way there is a black hole is if everyone in the scheme retires at once - tomorrow.

In actual fact the LGPS is well able to cover its liabilities year-on-year. In 2008-09 the scheme paid out £5.6 billion in benefits and had an income of £10.2 billion.

What the right-wing ideologues at the TPA can't stomach is the success of the LGPS. Their real aganda is the dismantling of employer pension schemes - our schemes - funded by us with our contributions - our deferred wages.

HANDS OFF!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Apprentices: Council squirms

Having been caught redhanded and having received some very unwelcome publicity, the Council has issued an anodyne statement claiming that apprentices will only be used for "junior roles" - whatever that means.

The fact remains that their own written proposals for the Finance Department clearly show that they are deleting jobs and proposing to get apprentices to take over the work. Those are job opportunities which are being denied to the people of Brighton and Hove, and it is crass hypocrisy for the council to be claiming to be creating apprenticeships on the one hand whilst destroying jobs on the other.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

So farewell then.......







In an age where we bemoan that our politicians are all style and no substance, Michael Foot had substance in spades. But because he fell short in the style department he was villified.

I think that he would have enjoyed the fact that one of the policies in that so-called "suicide note" of a manifesto, the nationalisation of the banks, ended up happening to stop the collapse of the finance system. Maybe if we'd done it back then, before they threw away our money, we might be in a better position.


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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Vote for Dave Hill in Kemptown!



YOUR TRADE UNIONIST AND SOCIALIST CANDIDATE
Dave Hill is from a working class East End background, he was brought up in the back streets of Brighton in poverty with mother and his brothers, and joined the Labour Party, then a left –wing party, when he was 16. For twenty years he was a local and regional political leader. He stood twice for Parliament for the Labour Party for Brighton Pavilion constituency, and was the Labour Group Leader on East Sussex County Council, as well as serving as a Brighton Borough Councillor. He left the Labour Party, at last, in 2006 because of its pro-war and its anti-working class policies. He is now standing as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate in Brighton Kemptown. http://brightontusc.blogspot.com/

WHAT WE STAND FOR

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP, NOT PRIVATISED PROFIT
Stop all privatisation, including the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), and the immoral privatisation of prisons. Bring privatised public services and utilities back into public ownership under democratic control.

NO CUTS - QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICES
Take rail back into public ownership and build an integrated, low-pollution public transport system.
For a high-quality, free National Health Service under democratic public ownership and control.
Stop council estate sell-offs and build eco-friendly, affordable public housing.
Good, free education for all, under democratic local authority control; student grants not fees.
Keep Royal Mail as a publicly-owned service, not a privatised cash cow.

JOBS, NOT HANDOUTS TO BANKERS & BILLIONAIRES
Bring banks and finance institutions into genuine public ownership under democratic control, instead of giving huge handouts to the very capitalists who caused the crisis.
Tax the rich. For progressive tax on rich corporations and individuals, with a crackdown on tax avoidance.
For massive investment in environmental projects.

EMPLOYMENT & TRADE UNION RIGHTS
Repeal the anti-trade union laws.
A minimum wage set at half average adult male earnings, with no exemptions.
Invest to create and protect jobs, including for young people.
Solidarity with workers taking action to defend jobs, conditions, pensions, public services and trade unions. Reinstate full trade union rights to prison officers.

PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT - STOP GLOBAL WARMING
Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions - otherwise climate change, caused by capitalism, will destroy us.
Invest in publicly-owned and controlled renewable energy.
Move to sustainable, low-pollution industry and farming - stop the pollution that is destroying our environment.
Recognise that many of our planet's resources are limited and that capitalism fritters them away for profit.
Produce for need, not profit, and design goods for reuse and recycling.

DECENT PENSIONS & BENEFITS
Restore the pre-Thatcher real value of pensions. Reinstate the link with average earnings.
Protect entitlement to benefits; for living benefits; end child poverty.

DEMOCRACY, DIVERSITY & JUSTICE
Welcome diversity and oppose racism, fascism and discrimination. Defend the right to asylum.
Ensure women have genuinely equal rights and pay.
Defend our liberties and make police and security democratically accountable.

SOLIDARITY NOT WAR
Bring home all British troops from Afghanistan immediately - no more wars for resources.
No more spending on a new generation of nuclear weapons, huge aircraft carriers or irrelevant eurofighters - convert arms spending into socially useful products and services.
An independent foreign policy, based on international solidarity – no more being a US poodle, no moves towards a capitalist, militarist United States of Europe, no Lisbon Treaty.

SOCIALISM
For a democratic socialist society run in the interests of the people not the millionaires. For democratic public ownership of the major companies and banks that dominate the economy, so that production and services can be planned to meet the needs of all and to protect the environment.