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Labour - no friend of trade unions
Nick Chaffey, Southampton TUSC candidate, Bitterne Park, replies to a letter from Unite regional official Ian Woodland, published in the Morning Star.
Ian Woodland writes: "In opposing the cuts and attacks on the unions, we find that the unions and Southampton Labour Party are effectively as one." How can this be when Labour plans to make £34 million cuts in Southampton if elected in May? This means butchering jobs and services, something union members oppose.
Southampton Tory council has implemented vicious cuts to jobs, pay and services. The unions have fought back with overwhelming public support. But not from Labour who opposed the strikes and said cuts would have to be made.
Strong criticism of the Labour cuts agenda exists among Unite and Unison members in Southampton. One leading Unite steward told TUSC campaigners: "You can't trust any of them!" We agree and so do many others. The only reason Labour will lose the election in Southampton is because of Labour's policy of cuts.
These cuts are not necessary, nor inevitable. We must build a united movement against all cuts. Support exists for the fight against all cuts as was shown by the public sectors unions' strike over pension attacks on 30 November 2011. This is how the cuts will be defeated - through national strike action linked to a political alternative to the Con-Dem and Labour cuts consensus.
TUSC is committed to defeating cuts and will stand alongside any Labour council or councillors who refuse to implement cuts. It is madness for the unions to back a party that aims at doing damage to our own members.
It is urgent the unions break their political and financial link with Labour, stand trade union candidates against cuts, and help form a new workers' party that can put socialist ideas back on the map. Liverpool's socialist city council in the 1980s showed what is possible. Our task is to build that in Southampton, across Britain, and internationally.
In The Socialist 25 April 2012:
Fighting the government's attacks
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party May Day Greetings
Socialist Party workplace news
Vote TUSC in May
International socialist news and analysis