The Fast Food Rights day of action was enthusiastically supported in Tower Hamlets, East London. Students at Poplar College immediately responded to the demands raised, since so many are forced to work to survive and are being super-exploited on zero-hours contracts and the minimum wage. Quite a buzz developed as word got around among students and staff. Both the TUSC parliamentary candidates for Tower Hamlets came along to promote the day of action. After the protest at the college, the Fast Food Rights campaigners went into the shops at the nearby Chrisp St market and approached the workers there to persuade them to join a union.
Hugo Pierre, Poplar and Limehouse:
‘When people in Tower Hamlets go to vote they will be looking for someone that’s on their side. Labour’s manifesto has shown they’re on the sides of the banks that caused the economic crisis, and they’re going to continue making the rest of us pay with a further £30 billion in cuts.
Labour’s pledge of £8 per hour minimum wage in 5 years is too little, too late. We need £10 now just to live in London!
‘Where was Labour’s commitment to council housing? TUSC would build 2,000 council homes a year in Tower Hamlets. The money is there. We just need a party to stand up for the 99% and finally we have one – TUSC.
‘If you want a real alternative to the ConDems this May, vote TUSC.’
Glyn Robbins, Bethnal Green and Bow:
‘New Labour’s manifesto will be a huge disappointment to anyone looking to the party to seriously challenge the Tory agenda of cuts and privatisation. The Party is doomed to repeat the mistakes it made during thirteen years of government. Despite the occasional radical soundbite, the underlying message is clear – business as usual. ‘On housing, Labour remains addicted to the profit-driven, developer-controlled model that has left 5 million people on waiting lists. On the NHS, Labour still isn’t slamming the door on the privatisers. On Trident, Labour is content to spend £billions on useless weapons of destruction, while saying they will continue to make cuts to public services and benefits.’
Fast Food Rights day of action Wed 15 April
Hugo and Glyn are supporting tomorrow’s Fast Food Rights campaign day of action, part of a global day of action for a living wage. They will be attending a local action outside Poplar college encouraging young people to join the union and join the campaign for £10 now:
12-2pm Poplar college, Poplar high St
Wednesday 15 April, 2015
TUSC’s five-point pledge:
- End cuts and austerity. For a democratic socialist society run in the interests of the millions not the billionaires.
- Trade union rights to fight low pay. £10 an hour minimum wage now, scrap zero hour contracts.
- A mass council home building programme and immediate introduction of rent controls.
- Scrap student fees. Free education as a right for all.
- For democratic public ownership of our NHS, railways, public services, utilities and banks
Watch these video messages from Tower Hamlets’ Hugo Pierre and Glyn Robbins, and their main election flyer which should be coming through your letterbox soon.
Hugo Pierre, TUSC candidate for Poplar and Limehouse:
Glyn Robbins, TUSC candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow:
TUSC candidate confirmed for Poplar and Limehouse
Anti-cuts candidate Hugo Pierre was confirmed as a general election candidate by the Council today.
Hugo was proposed by Dave Wallis, an RMT rep, and seconded by Mohshin Ahmed, a Unite member who has been part of the recent strikes for one rate of pay for bus drivers in London.
Hugo Pierre said:
‘The mainstream parties have declared war on working class areas like ours when they agreed to a £30 billion package of cuts to our public services. The Labour MP won’t even openly support strikes by workers in the borough fighting to keep their head above water for better pay or the protection of their pensions.
‘It’s clear we need a change: we need an MP who’ll support those workers in their fight; who’ll support private tenants against rip-off landlords; who’ll support Housing Association tenants against unaffordable rent hikes; against profit hungry developers using land to build homes for the rich; to keep our tube ticket offices open; to end the scourge of poverty pay and the introduction of a £10 per hour minimum wage; to scrap the debt to property developers crippling our local hospitals; and give our young people a future with jobs.
‘I’m grateful to the RMT and other trade unionists and campaigners that have backed my campaign for parliament. I promise to bring the concerns and aspirations of working class people and their families out into the open in this election rather than those of big business. If elected I promise to only take the average wage of a skilled worker unlike the large number of MPs who see the job as a way to fill their pockets!’
Dave Wallis, RMT rep, Wapping:
‘I am supporting Hugo Pierre because of his knowledge of working class families in and outside of tower hamlets, his heart is with the working class people. His aim is to make tower hamlets a better place to live, work and access good education inside and outside of school hours. My cousin Bob Crow would be proud to know that Hugo is fighting for working class political representation.
Moe Ahmed, Poplar, Unite bus driver:
‘Hugo has my support, he will mend our housing crisis, make sure that there is no social cleansing, increase work opportunities for younger people and social activities for the young. For the elderly he will ensure that they are not facing any further hardship. He is different to all the candidates because as a trade unionist and socialist he will fight back against all cuts. I believe all the other candidates will allow cuts but Hugo won’t allow cuts to continue and will be on the front line of fighting against all cuts.
Three RMT (rail union) branches who cover the borough have voted to back both Hugo Pierre and Glyn Robbins (who is standing in Bethnal Green and Bow) to stand for TUSC in Tower Hamlets: East Ham RMT, Jubilee South RMT and the Hammersmith and City RMT branches.
Chris Rice, chair of East Ham RMT branch, said:
‘Hugo has been to every single protest we’ve organised against the closure of Whitechapel ticket office.‘
TUSC is standing 136 candidates nationally in the General Election – the sixth highest of any party in Britain, including in both Tower Hamlets constituencies.
Tower Hamlets TUSC stood candidates for the Mayor and Council in 2014, contesting 14 out of 20 wards in the borough. TUSC received 871 first preference votes for Mayor, and 1,892 votes across the 13 wards we stood in. Candidates included members of the RMT, UNITE, UNISON, UCU and TSSA unions, NHS workers, tube workers, Council workers and student campaigners.
TUSC was set-up in 2010 by the late Bob Crow and others to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to stand candidates against the pro-austerity establishment parties: www.tusc.org.uk
If elected Hugo would follow anti cuts campaigners in Seattle, in the US, Ireland, Greece and Delhi, India in overturning the main pro-cuts parties:
Seattle: Kshama Sawant won a Council seat in November 2013 with almost 100,000 votes on a programme of $15 per hour minimum wage, rent controls and taxing big business to subsidise public transport. She takes a worker’s wage of $40,000 out of her council salary and donates the rest back to local campaigns.
Ireland: Paul Murphy was elected to the Irish parliament in? 2014 for the Anti Austerity Alliance, mainly because of the leading role he was playing in building a mass campaign of non-payment against water charges introduced by the Irish government this Easter. He also takes a worker’s wage out of his salary and donates the rest back to the workers’ movement and local campaigns.
Greece: anti-cuts coalition Syriza, which was one of the smallest parties in elections a few years ago, won the general election and formed the government in January 2015.
Delhi: in February the AAP (Aam Adami Party or Common Man Party) getting an astounding 67 seats out of 70, wiping out the Congress party that ruled the state for 15 years until 2013, and reducing the BJP who are in government in India, to only 3 seats.
The East London Adverstiser reports here:
Save the Bangladeshi Parent Advisory Service!
Bangladeshi parents of children with complex disabilities and learning disabilities are calling on Barts Health to reinstate funding and the service. Parents have depended for thirty years on a team of experienced bilingual advisors providing counselling and support, which is now being cut back severely, with down banding and role change for staff and parents are desperate. They have asked for support and are desperate about how they will manage without the service they have now.
A very good demo on 30 March 2015, the day before the cuts to the service were due to start, marched to Mile End hospital to demand to speak to the associate director responsible for the decision. Despite – or perhaps because of – knowing the demonstrators were coming they were not in. But the point was made loud and clear that the Bangladeshi Parent Advisory Service should be saved. The associate director responsible for the Bangladeshi Parent Advisor Service was ‘not in’, despite – or perhaps because of – knowing the demonstrators were coming.
Tower Hamlets TUSC supports the campaign. Our candidates sent messages of support to the march:
Glyn Robbins, Bethnal Green and Bow:
“This campaign has the 100% support of TUSC. It is disgusting that this vital service is under threat, but it’s indicative of the wider threat to our NHS. Good health is not just about medicine. It’s about well-being and understanding, exactly the kind of things the BPA does.”
Hugo Pierre, Poplar & Limehouse:
“I am happy to give my full support to your campaign to save this service.
The cuts to NHS budgets are affecting not only patient care but also services that affect the most vulnerable in society. Support and guidance services are essential for families dealing with disability of their children. Advocacy services and independent advice are enshrined in legislation, but these are the first options to cut when Health Services face budget deficits.
I fully support your campaign and will do whatever I can to support this service continuing for Bangladeshi children and their parents.”
What you can do to support the campaign
Please write letters of protest to:
Stephen O’Brien, Chair of Barts Health, the Royal London Hospital , 80 Newark St E1 2ES
Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent E14 2BG
(please send copies to the campaign c/o firstname.lastname@example.org)
The most contentious election on 22nd May took place in Tower Hamlets. TUSC stood for the Elected Executive Mayor and in 13 of the wards. Some on the left argued before the election that we shouldn’t stand because the independent Mayor, Lutfur Rahman (standing during these elections as Tower Hamlets First), was left of Labour and we should be part of his campaign or that we were unknown and just substituting ourselves for the working class.
The political background was explosive. Rahman was targeted by Labour, because he stood against the Labour imposed candidate the last time, with allegations of corruption in his administration even making a Panorama special and leading to police raids on his offices orchestrated by Tory Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles. The Labour candidate, John Biggs, was the borough’s GLA representative. Undoubtedly the other mainstream parties would have preferred the safe Labour candidate to Rahman.
In this highly polarised election TUSC received enthusiastic support for the programme of rent controls, building council houses, a £10 an hour minimum wage and a fight to return £123 million stolen from the council by the government over the previous 4 years. On Election Day working class people openly declared their support for us at the polling stations whilst the main parties herded people in to vote against their least favourite option.
The Tower Hamlets TUSC Mayoral candidate managed 871 first preference votes, which given the circumstances was a credible result and was only the tip of support for our campaign. In the council seats we got a total of 1,892 votes across the 13 wards. 3.2% of those that voted in these wards supported a TUSC candidate. In two wards we beat the Tory candidates (who now have 4 councillors) and in two other wards we were single figures away from beating the Lib Dems and other wards not too far away from catching other mainstream parties. The decision to stand as Mayor was vindicated by the ward results as that gave us a platform to increase our percentage vote.
Nationally the media scrum was around UKIP, but in Tower Hamlets we were completely cut out of the local media as big business were backing Labour. None of the mainstream parties did well as their votes were all down from previous elections in the borough. The count still hasn’t finished at the time of writing but Tower Hamlets First and Labour hold 18 seats each with the Tories holding 4 (down from their previous number). The collapse of the Lib Dems, who ran the council for 8 years until 1994 was more spectacular as they fell behind UKIP and the Greens.
Lutfur Rahman’s re-election opens up a new stormy chapter in the borough, not least how will he deal with a gaping £80 million plus hole in the budget and a continuing and deepening social crisis on the streets. The general election next year opens up further problems for Labour, neither of their MPs are safe from the challenge of Tower Hamlets First and have they burnt all bridges to strike a deal with them?
Our stand was a modest but successful start to place working class action, solidarity and socialism as a real option in the future for workers in this borough.
Tower Hamlets TUSC votes
Mayor 871 (1.03%)
Bethnal Green 327 (4.9%)
Bow East 221 (4.3%)
Bromley North 78 (2.3%)
Canary Wharf 58 (1.9%)
Island Gardens 100 (2.6%)
Lansbury 190 (3.6%)
Mile End 165 (2.8%)
Poplar 40 (1.9%)
Shadwell 141 (3.1%)
Spitalfields 98 (2.4%)
St Peters 222 (3.6%)
Weavers 113 (2.8%)
Whitechapel 139 (2.9%)
Total 1,892 (3.2%)
The percentage is of number of voters (not of the vote cast, which is misleading because in most wards we only stood 1 candidate).