Archive | February 2015

Channel 4s Immigration Street is a dead end. Join the campaign for jobs and housing in Solidarity Street!

Tonight, Channel 4 will broadcast their infamous Immigration Street series, now cut to just one show and one hour. Whatever the result, their intentions to sensationalise and profit by exploiting tensions in society over immigration, have been severely limited by the solidarity in the Newtown community to boycott the show.

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Like its notorious cousin, Benefits Street, produced for Channel 4 by the ironically named Love Productions, Immigration Street seeks to denigrate and sow prejudice, part of the establishment tactic of scapegoating sections of society for the problems we face.

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They rightly fear the united opposition of all working people, regardless of race or nationality, fighting the government’s austerity programme and building support for real answers to the problems we face. Tonights programme won’t show the struggles of Southampton communities to stand together in defence of jobs, pay and services at Southampton City council. It won’t show the victory of low paid cleaners at the General Hospital who united in strike action to defeat the attempts of Medirest to underpay their staff, cleaning staff made up of workers from seven different countries.

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In the last few months Southampton has seen strikes of the local fire fighters, council workers and health workers united on picket lines fighting to take their families out of the poverty of 5 years of wage restraint. Will Immigration Street report how austerity has left a quarter of Southampton’s children growing up in poverty?

Anti-cuts campaigners have fought to stop cuts to the NHS in the closure of the Bitterne Walk-In Centre as well as threats to the future of day centres and care homes in the city. Plans to close the Bitterne Walk-In Centre were put on hold due to the strong opposition from the community.

People power keep Bitterne Walk-In open!

People power keep Bitterne Walk-In open!

It is essential we reject any attempts to blame the problems of the city’s housing shortage, cuts to jobs and pay at the hands of migrant workers. Who closed the Fords factory, who cut the wages of council workers, who sold all the council homes off? The problems we are facing stem from the attempts to make ordinary people pay for the economic crisis created by the bankers, their friends in big business and their bought politicians in Westminster.

That is why the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition is opposed to Immigration Street and has backed the community boycott of the programme. That is why we are campaigning against the council cuts and fighting for the restoration of council funding, stolen from the city since 2010. We need to build a united campaign of the trade unions, all workers and our local communities in a mass campaign to pressure the next government to provide the necessary funding to meet the needs of the city. To end the housing crisis, to tackle poverty and provide services for young and old that see everyone flourish and enjoy the benefits of prosperity, we need to campaign for a real alternative to austerity that sees the wealth we create used for the benefit of all. Join the campaign of you agree.

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Lobby Your Councillor, Wed 11 Feb, 1.30pm Civic Centre

ANTI-CUTS CAMPAIGNERS CALL ON COUNCIL TO OPPOSE CUTS

Lobby Your Councillor, Wed 11 Feb, 1.30pm Civic Centre

Save Our Libraries, Save Our Day Centres and Care Homes – restore services to the city!

For the vast majority of people in Southampton the last five years of austerity have meant cuts in wages, increased taxes, rents and charges with a drastic reduction in public services in the city.

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On the eve of the most important elections for years there is a chance to reverse this tide of inequality and restore vital services to the city.

To do so will mean councillors refusing to vote through this latest round of cuts.

For all those who have echoed the cuts mantra, “There is no alternative”, this weeks revelations of HSBCs role in colossal tax evasion and tax avoidance demonstrates that the resources exist to ensure public services are maintained, jobs and wages are protected and our communities needs for young and old are met.

Southampton rejected the Conservative cuts agenda in 2012 after the mighty strikes of local council workers with Labour thrown into power. Since then Labour have bent the knee and dutifully carried out the cuts.

But the city has fought to oppose further cuts with strikes amongst council workers, healthworkers, firefighters and a threatened strike by police staff. Our communities have protested to save and protect local youth services, day centres, care homes with victories over Oaklands Pool and the Bitterne Walk-In Centre.

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This demonstrates the potential that exists for the council to build mass opposition to the government cutbacks, through a united campaign of our communities and trade unions, and force the next government to restore funding to the city that can tackle urgent problems we face.

Over 15 000 people are on the housing waiting list, unable to buy or rent in the private sector. How long are our children expected to live with their parents before this problem is tackled with a mass programme of affordable council houses being built in the city as we have in the past?

What is Labour for if it is not to stand up to the cuts agenda and reverse the decline of the city? Southampton Councillors Against Cuts, Coxford councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas have shown support can be won for such a stand. Keith Morrell was re-elected last year with 43% of the vote and Labour trailing in third.

We call on Southampton’s Labour councils to match the courage of the cities workers and communities who have stood up to resist the cuts and refuse to vote for the cuts on Wednesday. To do so will be to give confidence to the library workers and users who oppose council plans to decimate library services and all those who rely on council services.

For further information contact Nick Chaffey 07833 681910

National Libraries Day – Let’s Keep them Open!

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Protest Saturday 7 February, 12 noon, Central Library, Southampton

Saturday is National Libraries Day, rather than this being a launch pad to save Southampton’s libraries, the Labour city councillors are preparing a “muck or nettles” choice to close libraries across the city. How can this be just three months before an election that could see the austerity ConDem coalition ejected by the voters? Won’t Labour reverse these savage cuts to our city?

On January 13, we got a clear sight of what Labour plan to do, when John Denham and Alan Whitehead, voted with the Tories to carry through, £30 billion cuts in the next parliament.

We are using National Libraries Day to urge library users to campaign against all library cuts and closures, to lobby their councillors at the budget meeting on Wednesday 11 February, where we will be making a deputation to the council. Our supporters will be leafletting library events across the city and meeting at Central library at 12 noon to highlight the campaign against all council cuts.

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Library user and TUSC candidate Mike Marx said, “Libraries are a lifeline for our city communities, for young and old, for those unemployed and looking for work. Libraries are a fantastic resource that we must fight to keep and improve. Is this council really saying that the eighth richest economy in the world can’t afford libraries? I urge councillors to vote against the cuts and fight the government for the money our city needs.”

Southampton Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition will be standing candidates in every ward across the city in May as well as contesting the Westminster seats for Itchen and Test. Our candidates Sue Atkins (Itchen) and Nick Chaffey (Test) have a long and consistent record as trade unionists and anti-cuts activists campaigning against cuts and austerity.

“We do not accept the TINA mantra, “There Is No Alternative”. Ordinary people are being asked to pay for a crisis caused by the bankers, big business and their political allies in Westminster. It is a sad condemnation of the Labour Party today, that Southampton MPs John Denham and Alan Whitehead, stood with the Tories in voting for yet more pain for Southampton. We need MPs who will fight for the 99% to ensure jobs and affordable housing for all and a decent minimum living wage of £10/hour that is supported by the TUC. We give our full support to council librarians, their trade unions and library campaigners across the city to fight to keep all libraries open in the city.” Sue Atkins

For more information contact Nick Chaffey 07833 681910