30 attend Newham TUSC election launch

lois speaks

Thirty people listened to mayoral candidate Lois Austin speak at Newham Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition’s election launch meeting at Katherine Road Community Centre on Saturday 5 April.
Introducing the meeting as chair, Helen Pattison said how a Newham Labour council had come up to the TUSC stall at Upton Park earlier in the day. He looked at a Newham TUSC leaflet, which listed policies including:
· Cap rents not benefits – build council homes
· Axe the bedroom tax
· Support the Focus E15 mums
· A minimum wage of £10 an hour across the borough
· End zero-hour contracts
· A free education for all. Reintroduce EMA
· No NHS cuts. No privatisation. Defend NHS jobs
The Labour councillor responded by saying: “I don’t stand for any of that.”
Mayoral candidate Lois Austin said: “Newham desperately needs an alternative to the main three big business parties.”
Lois Austin said that TUSC was Bob Crow’s party. RMT general secretary Crow, who died in March and whose funeral was held in the East London cemetery in Manor Park, was a founding member of TUSC in 2010. “Under Bob, the RMT succeeded in standing up for it members in resisting cuts and privatisation.” TUSC was set up to have an alternative to Labour that stood up for working class people.
“We have a rotten Labour council, who do the really nasty things they don’t have to do – implement the bedroom tax, issue eviction notices, allowing the eviction of the E15 mums.”
Lois said that the Olympic legacy hasn’t benefitted most people in Newham, but instead pushed up property prices in Stratford while Newham has an acute housing crisis, with people living in cramped housing, many living in sheds and garages.
“24,000 people are on the council house waiting list. We need to build 20,000 council homes while renovating the many empty properties.”
“Labour councillors say they can’t oppose the cuts as it means breaking the law. But that’s not true.
“We’ve seen £110 million of cuts in Newham, but they have £180 million in reserves while £111 million was spent on Building 1,000. We’d do all the things that working class people need, like restoring EMA.
“We’d set a needs budget. A third of families in Newham are deprived. We’d lift people out of poverty. We’d build a mass campaign, link up with other councils that agree with us, and take on the Tories – or Labour Party if they’re in government, to get the needed money.”
Steve Hedley, RMT assistant general secretary and a Newham TUSC council candidate, said: “Newham Labour say they’re against cuts, but have no choice. It’s like saying you’re a vegetarian, and having pork pies for lunch! That’s why I’m urging everyone here to get involved in TUSC campaigning.”
Many TUSC supporters spoke from the floor, including a retired Newham council worker and GMB steward, and a Somali woman who spoke about the horrors of being stuck in agency work with no holiday rights or sick pay.
To finish the meeting, Lois spoke about her record as a campaigner. She was an organiser against the poll tax, which was defeated by a mass non-payment campaign of millions of people. Lois was chair of Youth Against Racism in Europe, and led a seven-year campaign that got the BNP headquarters in Welling closed.
Lois was a founding member of the Stop the War Coalition, campaigning against the unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Lois helped leaded the Stratford Academy Concerned Parents, which in 2012 united staff, parents and the local community in support of a teachers’ strike that successfully stopped cuts to teachers’ pat and the bullying of staff.
At the end of the meeting, TUSC candidates and supporters gathered behind the Newham TUSC banner for a group photo.

newham banner