This is the old TUSC North Devon website

Hello, thank you for visiting. This is the old website for the North Devon Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. To visit the new website, please go to:

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Autumn/Winter Newsletter Out Now!

North Devon Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition’s Autumn/Winter newsletter is out. For an electronic copy, click here: TUSC Newsletter Autumn-Winter 2013.

Residents in most parts of Forches, Frankmarsh, Gorwell, Whiddon Valley and Yeo Valley will have copies delivered to them in the next few weeks. If you live in Barnstaple and don’t receive a newsletter but would like to, please contact us using the contact form on this website.

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TUSC Meeting Tuesday 22nd October, 7.30pm

There will be a meeting of North Devon Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, Tuesday 22nd October, starting 7.30pm. The meeting will be at 7 Poltimore Lawn, Frankmarsh, Barnstaple. Please email tuscnorthdevon [at] if you need directions.

The meeting will discuss the latest issue of the newsletter, and the campaign against the bedroom tax.

Everyone welcome!

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Report of North Devon TUSC meeting, 23/7/13

At last night’s TUSC meeting it was decided that we will publish another edition of our newsletter, ‘The North Devon Socialist’ this September. The focus of it will be to correct the lies about ‘benefits’ and ‘welfare’ and to propose an alternative to the approach of the three main parties, UKIP, and the media, who demonise those on benefits, conveniently forgetting that the economic problems of this country were caused by the recklessness and greed of bankers.

The newsletter will advertise a meeting we plan to hold in late September on launching a campaign to oppose the bedroom tax. The aim of the campaign will be to try and get organisations like North Devon Homes to reclassify spare rooms as other rooms, to make sure that the council actually uses the funds at its disposal to help people losing out because of the bedroom tax, and to offer public support to those facing eviction due to rent arrears caused by the bedroom tax.

As always, funds are needed to help produce the newsletters, any money you can spare, however small the amount, would be gratefully received. We are currently setting up a bank account, and will send the details of this once this is done.

As well as this, we decided to propose to the national steering committee of TUSC that the party simply stands as Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition at the 2014 European elections, and not to use any other name. TUSC is not well known enough to start messing about with other names.

Finally, we elected the following officers and spokesmen and spokeswomen at the meeting:

Maureen Darkin – Spokeswoman for Ilfracombe
Mark Harper – Secretary and spokesman for Sticklepath
Peter Jordan – Treasurer and spokesman for Yeo Valley (Yeo Vale, Frankmarsh and Gorwell)
Doug Lowe – Spokesman for Forches, Whiddon Valley and Newport
James Lowe – Chair

Thank you to all the new people who attended last night’s meeting, the next one will be in early September.

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TUSC Meeting, Tuesday 23rd July, 7pm

You are invited to an organising meeting for North Devon Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. This will be held at 7 Poltimore Lawn, Frankmarsh Road, Barnstaple Bear Street turn left onto Frankmarsh Road. Poltimore Lawn is the row of houses immediately to the left as you head down Frankmarsh Road. You should be able to park somewhere on Frankmarsh Road.
The meeting will discuss the way forward for TUSC in North Devon, a possible campaign on the bedroom tax, September leafletting and more.
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Statement on May Elections

Following a poorly attended meeting earlier this evening, and very few offers of campaigning or financial help, North Devon Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition have decided not to stand a candidate in Barnstaple South in the upcoming County Council election. As we have said before, a County Council election campaign is a big undertaking, and we simply could not have done it with the number of people volunteering their services or donating money, though we thank those who did offer.

It is unfortunate that the people of Forches, Whiddon Valley, Newport and Sticklepath will now not have an anti-austerity candidate to vote for in the election. More than this, the potential to build the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in North Devon has been put back. At a time when the three main parties all back savage cuts to public services and welfare for those less fortunate, and are now pandering to the right-wing lunatics of UKIP, this is sad.

With a few honourable exceptions, too often we have seen and heard people moaning, and complaining that ‘something should be done’, without actually wanting to get involved and actually doing something. But a movement is not going to be built, or be successful, if only a handful of people actually do anything. If you want a party to fight for jobs, for decent pay, for more good quality social housing, for an NHS free from private profiteers, for public services to be democratically run in the interests of the people and not private profit, you cannot just rely on other people to build it. North Devon Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will not go away, but it will not go anywhere unless more people get involved.

In this election we are calling for support for Gerrard Sables, who is standing as a Communist Party candidate in Barnstaple North. Gerry has an excellent track record of campaigning on a number of issues, including support for benefit claimants and migrants, opposing cuts and privatisation, backing workers taking trade union action, and defending the NHS. He is a fine candidate, and would make an excellent County Councillor. We urge you vote for him if you live in Barnstaple North.

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Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Bulletin Number 50, March 2013

First… Spirit of 45…


Rebel councillors to stand under TUSC umbrella

This week Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, the ‘rebel two’ councillors in Southampton (see were invited to speak at a meeting of the RMT’s national executive committee.  Their principled stand against the cuts, for which they have been expelled from the Labour Party, was warmly welcomed by the RMT.  They in turn voiced their appreciation of the support they have had from the RMT and from other TUSC supporters.  Keith Morrell is up for re-election in May 2014 and, while the rebel two are looking at exactly what name he will use on the ballot paper, Keith is clear that he will be standing with others across the city under the TUSC umbrella.  As he said to the Labour group in his speech at the council’s budget-making meeting on February 13th: “The fight back could have begun here today if you had made it so. Comrades of the Labour Party, today you have chosen to surrender the field, but we will not give up.  The fight on behalf of working people – so ignominiously betrayed by the Labour Party – will go on”.

Twenty six TUSC candidates already selected in Warwickshire for the County council Elections!

Fourteen TUSC candidates have been selected in Nuneaton, with at least one TUSC candidate in every division (ward).  The same is the case in Rugby, where 9 TUSC candidates have been selected, covering all 8 divisions.  There will also be at least three TUSC candidates in Leamington, the first time TUSC has stood in the town.  A Warwickshire TUSC steering Committee has been set up to co-ordinate the election campaign.  Contact Pete McLaren for further details at

May elections – if you’re thinking of standing, get your application in now!

It’s now only a couple of weeks before nominations open for the May 2013 local elections – so if you want to stand as a TUSC candidate you need to let the TUSC National Nominating Officer know straightaway.

To appear on the ballot paper as a TUSC candidate you need to get a Certificate of Authorisation from the TUSC National Nominating Officer to hand in with the nomination papers to the local council returning officer.  This entitles you to use one of TUSC’s registered logos, which will also appear next to your name on the ballot paper.  This includes the ‘TUSC Against Cuts’ emblem.

An application form is available on the TUSC website at  Submitting this will be taken as indicating your agreement with TUSC’s agreed core policy platform for local council elections (below), which is the basis on which any prospective council candidate who wishes to can stand under the TUSC name in May’s elections. 

All TUSC councillors will:

● Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions – we reject the claim that ‘some cuts’ are necessary to our services.

● Support all workers’ struggles against the cuts, privatisation and the government’s policy of making ordinary people pay for the crisis caused by the bankers and the bosses.

● Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts.

● Defend the national collective bargaining arrangements for council workers.

● Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services, or the transfer of council services to ‘social enterprises’ or ‘arms-length’ management organisations, which are first steps to privatisation.

● Oppose racism and fascism and stand up for equality for all.

● Use all the legal powers available to councils, including powers to refer local NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations, to oppose both the cuts and government polices which centrally impose the transfer of public services to private bodies.

● Campaign for the introduction of a Living Wage above and beyond the minimum wage for all council employees and those working for council contractors.

● When faced with government cuts to council funding, councils should refuse to implement the cuts.  We will support councils which in the first instance use their reserves and prudential borrowing powers to avoid passing them on – while arguing that the best way to mobilise the mass campaign that is necessary to defeat the cuts is to set a budget that meets the needs of the local community and demands that the government makes up the shortfall.

● Support action against climate change and for a future where sustainability comes before profit.

It might only be Maltby Town Council…

…it was only a by-election. There’s only 3,000 electors. Only a 16.5% turn-out. And only two candidates.But you can only beat the opposition put in front of you, and last night Joe Robinson did just that. Standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), young Socialist Party member Joe was elected by 303 votes to 201, taking 60% of votes cast. His opposition was an ‘independent’ without description on the ballot paper, but in reality the Labour candidate whom the ruling group on Maltby town council had tried to co-opt when a vacancy arose. But Joe collected the ten signatures necessary to force a by-election, and TUSC ran an enthusiastic and visible campaign with two ward-wide leaflets, posters and several high street stalls.

Local issues such as the bowling greens, tennis courts, parks and the High Street were linked to the need to make a stand against Con-Dem cuts including those passed on by Rotherham borough Labour council. Our main issue was TUSC’s ongoing campaign against the draconian cuts being proposed at Rotherham hospital. TUSC had lobbied the January Trust board meeting with 3,000 signatures gaining much media publicity and making links with the hospital trade unions.

This issue had been a feature of TUSC’s campaign in the Rotherham parliamentary by-election last November and, while Maltby is outside the parliamentary constituency, the work done then played a role in building TUSC’s profile. Maltby is now an ex-mining town as the pit is just shutting with the loss of 550 jobs. A quarter of its population has left in the last decade. A small Labour clique has run Maltby town council for decades and the BNP temporarily won a borough council seat four years ago.

Joe, only 21, was like a breath of fresh air to the tired old local politicians and TUSC’s appeal to trade unionists and socialists went down well in a strong working class community. Interestingly, postal votes accounted for nearly 80% of the votes cast with nearly half registered postal voters actually voting. This shows that TUSC’s first leaflet struck a real chord with disillusioned Labour supporters.

This year is the 40th anniversary of Clay Cross council’s defiance of the Tory Housing Finance Act in 1973. Clay Cross was only an Urban District Council of 10,000 yet made an historic stand. Maltby is bigger than Clay Cross, and who knows this by-election victory could be the start of something much bigger for TUSC.

Rugby TUSC to organise Benefit Gig to support local community facilities

Rugby TUSC has agreed to join the campaign to support and save the Rehersal Rooms/Studio on Lower Hillmorton Rd in Rugby by organising a TUSC Benefit Gig there on Saturday April 6th.  There will be up to six live bands using two stages, and a bar will be provided.  The event may become the official launch of Rugby TUSC’s 2013 Election Campaign.

From the Unions

Unite stands shoulder to shoulder with Venezuela following Chavez’s death

Hugo Chavez was a massive inspiration to those fighting for social justice and standing up against grinding poverty and social exclusion, the leader of Britain and Ireland’s largest union, Unite said today (6 March).

UNISON Scotland to ballot on local govt pay offer

Scottish local government workers will be balloted on a final pay offer from councils after a Glasgow meeting of UNISON branch delegates on 15 March decides on any recommendation on the 1% offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities

On International Women’s Day, the RMT launches a new model domestic violence policy framework for the UK transport industry at the union’s annual women’s conference

The policy document sets out clear principles for employers to recognise domestic violence as a workplace issue and maps out procedures for reporting, delivering a safe and supportive environment and promoting the policy amongst staff.

Fire Brigades Union says “It’s Boris Johnson versus the rest of London”, as cuts battle gets under way

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has vowed to mobilise every firefighter at every fire station to defend London’s fire service, after fire authority politicians decided to comply with an order by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, for public consultation to begin on proposals to close 12 fire stations, remove 18 engines and slash 520 frontline firefighter posts.

PCS Action starts with budget day strike

The PCS programme of national industrial action will start with a strike on budget day on 20 March.The national executive agreed this will be followed by further walkouts, other forms of industrial action and protests over the next three months.  The campaign against cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions aims to put maximum pressure on ministers who are refusing to talk to us.

TUC says: Tell Osborne to change course

The TUC have organized a pre-budget Westminster rally to fight for public services.  The TUC states:“Next month the 50p tax for the richest in society will be cut, while ministers press on with austerity policies that hold back growth and threaten a triple dip recession.  But it’s ordinary families that are paying the prices for the economic crisis they did absolutely nothing to cause.”

The rally takes place next Wednesday March 13 from 6pm to 7.30pm at The Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street. It’s free to attend but spaces are limited so register your details on the TUC website

RMT calls for urgent talks with Network Rail on overhead lines maintenance as latest failure in three weeks causes chaos on West Coast

Rail Union RMT has called for urgent talks with Network Rail over a spate of overhead line failures which has seen three major breakdowns on Intercity routes out of London in the last three weeks with the latest happening on March 1st just after 5am on the WCML at Wolverton near Milton Keynes.

NASUWT condemns increase in teachers’ pension contributions in Scotland

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, explained:

“The NASUWT condemns the further pension contribution rises announced by the Scottish Government.“NASUWT members have been in continuous action short of strike action since 1st December 2011, in furtherance of our national trade dispute with the Scottish Government about pensions, pay, workload and conditions of service.  I welcome the fact that the EIS and SSTA are following the lead of the NASUWT in considering industrial action against the detrimental changes to teachers’ pensions.”

Unite expresses support for sister unions and workers at Thomas Cook

Over 2,000 job cuts at Thomas Cook is a tragedy for those affected says Unite, Britain’s biggest union, as the company today (6 March) announced major cuts across its retail network and cuts to its administrative and back office staff.


Launch of MLK 50: Equality in our lifetime – a BARAC campaign

Monday 11 March  6 – 8pm  PORTCULLIS HOUSE, HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, LONDON SW1 BARAC is seeking your active participation, support and engagement in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington in 2013. We are a planning a series of events, seminars, conferences and a recreation of the 1963 national march on Washington with a national anti racist march in London to be held on the Sat 31st August 2013.  We are inviting you to attend the launch of MLK50 Equality In Our Lifetime in Parliament.

Scotstoun bedroom tax public meeting 

Tuesday 12 March  11:00am  64 Balmoral Street, Scotstoun.  A public meeting on the impact of welfare reform, including the so-called ‘bedroom tax’

A future for families: A future that works – TUC pre-budget rally

Wed 13 Mar  6pm  The Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London  Part of a Europe-wide week of trade union action on austerity

Rugby TUSC organizes protest event in solidarity with European TUC Day of Action

Wed March 13  3pm The Clock Tower, Rugby Town Centre Public Meeting/stall/leaflets

Leaflet Nottingham jobcentres on bedroom tax meeting

Thursday 14 March  9:45am  25 Station Street Nottingham Nottinghamshire NG2 3BZ, NG2 3BZ. The bedroom tax will take money from the poorest at a time when massive multi-nationals pay next to nothing in tax.  It targets the vulnerable. Those with caring responsibilities, family in the forces, recently bereaved or single parents. these are the people the Tories want to tax.

Nottingham people’s assembly planning meeting 

Thursday 14 March  7:00pm  New Mechanics Institute, 3 North Sherwood St, Nottingham,

This is the second planning meeting for the People’s Assembly in Nottingham. These are open meetings to build the anti cuts movement in Nottingham and organise a major anti-cuts conference on 18 May. Check out the notes from the first meeting:  Tony Benn and Owen Jones are confirmed to speak at the assembly

Leeds (Little London area) organise against the bedroom tax meeting 

Thursday 14 March  6:30pm  The Leeds Rifleman, 2 Carlton Parade, LS7 1HA, Leeds LS7 1HA

Hands Off Our Homes is happy to announce our fourth local meeting.   It will be a chance to find out more about the bedroom tax, learn about the campaign so far and decide how we can stop the ‘tax’. We’ll be discussing how tenants in Middleton and their allies can build opposition to the bedroom tax and how to support those who cannot or do not wish to move. Together, we can defend our homes.

Save New Cross Fire station

14 March   7:30pm  The Stephanie Rossiter School of Dance The Barnes Wallis Community Centre, 74 Wild Goose Drive, SE14 5LL London, United Kingdom, SE14 5LL

If we don’t take action the Mayor of London will close New Cross and other fire stations before the end of this year

Weymouth: protest against the bedroom tax

Friday 15 March  12 – 2:00pm  Outside Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Council Offices North Quay Weymouth Dorset DT4 8TA, DT4 8TA

Councillors against cuts: national meeting

Saturday 16 March  12:30pm  Birmingham City Council House, Victoria Square, B1 1BB

Organised by the Labour representation Committee (LRC).  All Councillors elected as Labour and wanting to defeat the government’s cuts welcome.  Delegates also welcome from local government unions, affiliated union branches, and community-based local anti-cuts campaigns who wish to support Labour councillors who refuse to implement cuts.  Delegate fee: £5/ Observers £2

Durham bedroom tax protest

Saturday 16 March  1:00pm  Durham city centre, DH1

A demonstration to protest against the injustice of the Bedroom Tax that penalises the disabled, single parents, families of those recently deceased, foster parents and the parents of children in the army or at university.

Unite the Resistance Regional Meeting

Saturday 16 March 1:00pm   Novotel Hotel, 50 Arundel Gate, Sheffield S1 2PR

The Fight Against Austerity.  
Speakers include Mark Serwotka PCS, Alan Gibbons libraries, Karen Reissman Unison, Kevin Courtney NUT, Ronnie Draper BFAWU, Martin Mayer Unite.
  Workshops sessions on NHS, Benefits, Education, Organising in the workplace, Protest and the Law, Equality, Fighting the cuts.


Birmingham bedroom tax protest

Saturday 16 March 2013, 2:00pm  Victoria Square, Birmingham

Campaign for Benefits Justice public meeting

Tuesday 19 March 7pm The Nottingham Mechanics, 3 North Sherwood St Nottingham , Nottingham, Nottinghamshire NG1 4EZ

Worried about the ‘Bedroom’ Tax and your Council Tax Benefit decreasing; Disability Living Allowance being replaced by Personal Independence Payments and Benefits rising less than inflation?  Then come to this public meeting.  Organised by Notts TUC, and supported by 
Nottingham & Notts Defend Council Tax Benefit Campaign &
 Disabled People Against Cuts


Brighton public meeting: the assault on welfare

Wednesday 20 March 7:30pm  The Friends Meeting House Ship Street, BN1 1AF Brighton, BN1 1AF  Organised by the Brighton Benefits Campaign


Carnival Against the Cuts – protest against Cameron in Canterbury

Thursday 21 March  2:00pm  The Butter Market, Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury CT1 2HW

David Cameron will be visiting Canterbury for the inauguration of the new Archbishop of Canterbury. East Kent KONP are calling out to all those who wish to defend the NHS to join us in sending a message to Cameron to let him know what we think of the Tory health plans.

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