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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 March 2019

Socialist Party Northern conference: Workers are sick of cuts and have the power to fight back

Socialist Party Northern regional conference March 2019, photo SoCIALIST

Socialist Party Northern regional conference March 2019, photo SoCIALIST   (Click to enlarge)

Brent Kennedy, Carlisle Socialist Party

The stand-out contributions at the Socialist Party Northern regional conference came from trade union activists reporting their recent experiences in their workplaces. This made both the discussions - British economic and political perspectives and the one on building the Socialist Party - very real and practical.

A Tyneside social care worker graphically showed the destructive effects of cuts on the morale of her colleagues. She's frustrated at not being allowed to give the service which vulnerable people need.

This was echoed by a member of public sector union Unison about his hospital in Teesside. The daily experience of a disabled member from Newcastle meant they felt the same.

Socialist Party members from workplaces on Gateshead's Team Valley industrial estate reported how they had won some small, but significant, victories for their workmates. One workforce had stopped the arbitrary imposition of drug and alcohol rules and rewrote them in the interests of the workers as a whole.

Another had gone into negotiations armed with the figures showing exactly how much the directors take out of the factory. Just letting the bosses pointedly know that general union Unite now has a strike fund of 32 million and will pay out 50 a day to members on strike was enough to get what the workers wanted, without a strike.

Meanwhile, Socialist Party members in North Shields are waging a neighbourhood battle to keep a vital footbridge link. Blairite councillors are prepared to get rid of it as part of a land grab by private developers. Therefore, Socialist Party members will be standing as Socialist Alternative council candidates in May's local elections.

The Socialist Party has actively backed the transport union RMT strike to keep the guards on trains. And now we're supporting the student strikes and protests against climate change.

The 300 collection for the fighting fund reflected our excellent target-busting fundraising in every quarter over the last year.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 20 March 2019:


What we think

May's government facing endgame


News

End austerity. Fight for a living wage!

New Zealand mosque terror atrocity

Top unis threaten cuts if tuition fees

Cash-strapped schools now 'fourth emergency service'


Climate walkouts

Youth strikes show the way - mass action can oust Tories

Massive protests over catastrophic climate change


Workplace news

Victory for Birmingham bin workers

PCS civil servants' union: Vote Yes to strike for better pay

Midlands machine bearing makers launch all-out strike

Hackney school bus workers walk out


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist Party's Sue Atkins wins big support for anti-cuts, socialist policies

Union fightback key to movement against racism and austerity

Trade unionists debate the EU

Socialist Party Northern conference: Workers are sick of cuts and have the power to fight back

Stop cuts to women's services in Leicester

Help build the workers' press: send May Day greetings to the Socialist!


International socialist news and analysis

Spanish state: Historic 8 March action


Opinion

Exhibition: Don McCullin - a life in pictures

The Socialist Inbox

Theatre: Banner Theatre's Nottingham 'Free for All'


 

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