Dundee SSP

Scottish Socialist Party branches from Dundee

November 30th March in Dundee

Posted by alangdundee on November 10th, 2011

As decided at Dundee TUC‘s November 2nd meeting

Assemble 12noon, West gate of Dudhope Park (postcode DD1 5RE for satnav / GoogleMap). March off at 12:30pm. Route; Lochee Road, Marketgait, West Marketgait, Nethergate to rally in City Square (postcode DD1 3BA) commencing at approx 1pm. Provisionally, feeder marches are being investigated from Dundee University (via Hawkhill to join up at Marketgait Circle) and Abertay University (via Bell Street to join up at Marketgait).

TUs are asked to check & advise on speakers (Dundee or national officers). STUC speaker has been requested.

Further details; dundeetuc@ymail.com, 07951 443656.

Posted in Demo, Dundee, Strike | No Comments »

Updated Scottish Socialist Voice site

Posted by alangdundee on November 10th, 2011

The Scottish Socialist Voice site has had a long-awaited update and now has new articles posted to it regularly.

Take a look at it, subscribe to online or subscribe for physical copies.

Posted in SSP | No Comments »

Striking for a living wage at Stow College

Posted by alangdundee on October 16th, 2011

by Richie Venton, SSP national trade union organiser

Low paid canteen and cleaning staff at Glasgow’s STOW college are staging a series of strikes.
These UNISON members are winning massive support from teaching staff (EIS members) and students, as well as the wider public. Queues form daily to buy their sizzling solidarity sausages, at the elaborately decorated ‘tent’ the pickets have mounted outside the college gates!

In a petty act of intimidation – which entirely backfired and only served to harden the strikers’ resolve – college top management called out the police and then council environmental services, to check if the food was up to hygiene standards! Of course it is; these are catering staff, who know what they’re doing – and are collecting generous donations to sustain their strike, which is what management really object to.
At the heart of the dispute is the struggle for the extremely modest Scottish Living Wage (£7.20 an hour) and against privatisation of cleaning and catering.

As one of the pickets told me, We are taking the selective strike action because the union can afford to pay us on strike days – which goes to show just how low paid we are!

I spoke to a steward about the issues behind the strike, and what fellow-trade unionists can do to help them win a speedy victory.

The context of this is last year’s Budget announcement by John Swinney that low paid workers, as a minimum, should be protected against the worst excesses of the recession. He asked for this to be done by the unions showing pay restraint but with workers employed by public bodies earning under £21,000 being given £250, and the Scottish Living Wage being guarateed, which is now £7.20 an hour.

We have at least 20 members on about £6.63.

Last year STOW college management said they would give the Scottish Living Wage this year and in return we took another below-inflation wage settlement.

UNISON and the EIS jointly proposed a package of savings for the college, including the £80,000 hospitality budget; overseas travel not linked to income (including Board meetings and management taking their families abroad for awards events); bringing the graduation in-house instead of sumptuous affairs at the Royal Concert Hall; contractors and consultants being replaced by our own workers doing the jobs; and an end to Board of management events, with overnight stays, at expensive hotels.

Management’s reply was ‘No’ to all that.

STOW is a college that lost significant numbers of staff. We have faced cuts to courses, carried out under the radar, such as Special Needs Provision being cut by half; fewer part-time student places for people seeking asylum; an end to the part-time photography course.

In this year’s pay round we asked for three things: the Scottish Living Wage immediately; a pay rise for the rest of our members; and guarantees against privatisation of any areas of the service.
‘No’ was the management reply!

They said they don’t have the money now to implement the Scottish Living Wage – which we calculate would cost only £7,000 to £8,000. They also imposed a pay freeze and privatisation of the remainder of cleaning and the canteen.

We showed that this is a nonsense, that it would cost the college money as private companies would take money out of the college, rather than make savings.

For two years UNISON led the Hands Off STOW campaign, to save the college from potential closure, saving the necks of senior management in the process. This is our reward: pay cuts, low pay and privatisation of the people who helped save the place.

So we balloted for industrial action in June, with an overwhelming vote to strike. Management did nothing over the whole summer to find a settlement, so here we are taking strike action.

Last week, after the first day of strike action, management promised a meeting this week to discuss our alternatives to out-sourcing and to seek a resolution to the dispute. But instead of meeting with us, they hit us with the announcement that the cleaners will be out-sourced on 1st November and Catering on 1st January.

Their reasons are cynical. They want to out-source jobs to avoid paying the Scottish Living Wage, as private companies are under no obligation to pay it, and to downgrade and slim down the workforce in preparation for the future. And that is something other colleges will probably try to repeat, with worsened services, terms and conditions eroded … your starter for ten!

We have written an open letter to John Swinney and Mike Russell to intervene.

We have full strike action on 25th and 26th October where we hope supporters will call at our picket lines.
Write to MSPs, MPs and councillors backing our claim, against management who are neither consulting nor negotiating with us, just informing us of their decisions – because nobody is putting the brakes on them.

 

Posted in Strike, Trade Unions | No Comments »

People First – not Profit

Posted by alangdundee on September 21st, 2011

By Richie Venton, SSP national workplace organiser

Every passing day adds its own story of ruthless exploitation and suffering for the profit of the few; its own reason why we need to muster a mass STUC demonstration in Glasgow on 1st October, to bolster the resistance to cuts from all quarters.

The STUC itself has unveiled research showing nearly half a million Scots – 17.5 per cent of people of working age – are either unemployed, under-employed or cast aside like garbage under the government title ‘economically inactive’.

That’s a waste of 500,000 lives; a dead end for young people starting out on life’s journey; and a colossal loss of potential production of socially useful goods and services. Put another way, that’s capitalism.

Worse to come

International capitalist institutions like the OECD forecast even worse to come; that the UK’s economy is grinding to a halt, with less than one per cent growth this year, some of them predicting ten years of austerity. Incredibly, in the same breath they urge Cameron and Clegg’s Coalition to ‘carry on cutting’ – despite the growing evidence that every wage cut reduces spending power and adds to the dole queues…which reduces tax revenue, which the Twin Tories use to ‘justify’ more cuts…

Meantime bankers and bosses raised their bonuses by 70 per cent in recent years, whilst making wages as a share of national wealth their lowest in 50 years.

Human cost

Facts and figures only hint at the human toll of cuts to jobs, services, benefits, pay and pensions.

Quarriers workers are being told to cut their wages by up to 23 per cent, £400-500 a month, plus cuts to pensions, sick pay and maternity pay. The bosses at one of Scotland ’s biggest social charities fail to spot the bitter irony: Quarriers was founded to help vulnerable kids and adults in 1871, but in 2011 they are forcing dedicated, decent workers to sell their cars, leave their homes, and make their kids suffer.

No wonder these UNISON members have been driven to take strike action, demanding proper funding and defence of their wages, braving the torrential rain to win an outpouring of public support for their stance.

As one of the Ardrossan pickets told SSP members,

They said pay rises would only be given when they made a profit, but Quarriers is a not-for-profit charity organisation.

Another added,

If Quarriers get away with this, I won’t be able to afford to pay my mortgage. What am I supposed to do then? This is a charity that looks after children, but their plans would put my children out of their home.

Workers and communities rebel

Communities are in revolt, and workers squaring up for a fight-back, after years of setbacks.

The families of disabled adults are leading the struggle against closure of Glasgow ’s Accord Centre by Labour city councillors – who plan to demolish it, renege on their pledge to replace it, and use the ground for a bus park for the 11-day Commonwealth Games.

The same Labour politicians have the breath-taking cheek to join the local community, also in Glasgow’s east end, against closure of Lightburn hospital – which the Labour council voted in favour of closing when it was initially mooted! The lesson: gather 14,000 signatures on the petition against closure, mount demos, and even axe-wielding politicians can be ‘persuaded’ to ‘side’ with you!

March, occupy, strike

We need more than one string to our bow in resisting the cuts.

Local, community-led demos help highlight the atrocities faced by working class people, pressurising those with the power to decide – whether councillors, Health Boards or the Scottish government.

Direct action protests and occupations – like those staged by disabled workers when they occupied DWP buildings in anger at closure plans for Remploy factories – convey something of the rage felt by those at the receiving end of cuts by a class of callous, feral, upper-class hooligans.

But one of the most powerful weapons of all is united, widespread strike action against cuts.

St Andrews Day Showdown

For the past year, SSP members have campaigned in the unions for a one-day strike of the entire public sector. The PCS union led the fight for a coordinated November public sector strike at TUC conference, and pressure for this unity in action has been mounting from the membership on other union leaders.

Even the EIS leadership – who scandalously led members to accept £45m cuts just months ago – last week announced a strike ballot.

Scottish UNISON’s Local Government conference recently voted by 4:1 for a one-day strike on pensions.

Now, in a monumental breakthrough for the anti-cuts movement, TUC conference has voted for a united strike on 30 November – St Andrews Day – with at least ten unions balloting members for what would be the broadest strike action since the 1970s. Members in PCS, NUT, UCU, ATL, UNITE, UNISON, GMB, NASUWT, EIS, NIPSA will almost certainly be joined by FBU and Prospect. And the Prison Officers Association – banned from strike action by the last Labour government! – have pledged to strike in defiance of this outrageous anti-working class law.

Provided union activists, stewards and branches now launch an unprecedented campaign of persuasion in the workplaces, this could mean up to 3 million workers bombarding both Westminster and Holyrood with their colossal power against cuts. Because whilst this ‘day of action’ is on pensions, that is but the latest, most common thread to all the cuts, the vehicle to ventilate the fury of millions at the butchery of jobs, services and wages as well as pensions.

Build mass People First demo

The STUC’s People First demo on 1st October is the perfect means to tie these strands together. By uniting disparate community struggles into a mightier force, alongside trade unionists and students in revolt. By boosting the fighting morale of workers, helping persuade them to vote for a mighty strike of the entire public sector on St Andrews Day.

By putting tens of thousands on the streets as the smug, arrogant Tories hold their conference, we can also put the Scottish government on the spot, as they announce their Spending Review, expected to involve £2bn in cuts for the next two years.

The People First demo is more than an end in itself: it is a means to demand the funds to protect every job, service and source of income; to demand ‘No cuts – tax the rich’; to demand that Holyrood defies the Westminster Butchers, who have no mandate to rule and ruin Scotland .

Build the demo. Build the resistance. Build for a one-day public sector strike. Build a Scots rebellion that declares ‘people not profit’.

Posted in Campaign, Cuts | No Comments »

On an Independence Referendum

Posted by alangdundee on May 8th, 2011

So the SNP have walked home in the Holyrood election with a majority. The whole election campaign Labour, Lib Dems and the Tories were talking about a vote for SNP being a vote for independence. The SNP barely mentioned it.

48 hours after the results are known the media has had saturation coverage of an independence referendum. This morning on the Sunday morning politics programmes Labour and Tory politicians were wheeled out and attacked the SNP because of all the talk of independence.

The tory went as far as to repeat the Wendy Alexander Bring it on taunt to the SNP.

As daft as the phrase sounds, there is a minor point. In 2007 the SNP promised a referendum in 100days, er a year, er within the first term of office. The unionists allied in opposition enough to make the SNP bottle holding one. They are now hinting about one towards the end of the current term.

In addition the Tories supported holding the AV referendum even though advocated a No vote. If they see that the two positions are not contradictory then why do these parties not support having the referendum but then campaign against a Yes to independence result?

So on the one side you have the SNP trying to delay implementing the policy they exist for.

On the other you have the Lib Dems, Tories and Labour trying to block a referendum for a variety of public reasons (mainly cost) and private reasons (they don’t want it to pass). The arguments against didn’t stop Tories and Lib Dems supporting the recent AV referendum. Nor Labour the slightly less recent referendum on more powers for the Welsh Assembly.

As ever the goalposts have moved.

In the past few weeks Labour were saying a vote for SNP is a vote for independence. Presumably now they would insist a referendum has to take place first?

Of course rags like the Daily Mail are a bit miffed. Apparently the rest of the UK needs to vote on Scotland being independent, it’s not just those in Scotland. To use the old argument, a husband and wife would both need to agree to a divorce or if only 1 wants it be forced to stay together?

Quite pathetic really.

Of course the logical end of this argument is ignored.

The first commenter on the article Muggins, Manchester I want out of the Union as well; the European Union. What’s the betting we don’t get a referendum on that one!.

So does Muggins think that a UK referendum on leaving the EU would only be valid if the rest of the EU voted that the UK could leave?

Presumably not…

Posted in Campaign, Holyrood, International, Media, Scotland, SNP | No Comments »

Election Results

Posted by alangdundee on May 8th, 2011

Thanks to everyone who came out to vote for us on Thursday. We haven’t met to discuss results so no analysis just the dry boring figures.

In the North East of Scotland 1115 people came out to vote for the SSP.

This broke down to
156 people in Dundee City West and
127 in Dundee City East

Posted in Election, Holyrood | No Comments »

A-Z of the SSP: Feminism

Posted by alangdundee on May 4th, 2011

Feminism is an often misused term by its opponents. A feminist is someone who supports equal rights for all people, whatever their gender is.

Given that to achieve this it is essential to tackle patriarchy. Patriarchy is one of the many forms our society takes. Socialisation from a young age means that many people are unaware of how subtle the forms are it can take.

The SSP has adopted a number of political positions over the years which would lead many outside and inside to describe it as a feminist organisation. We believe that to tackle the inequalities caused by the class based society we live in it is also essential to tackle gender inequality and a variety of other forms of inequality. We don’t see it as a binary choice (unlike some others…) or think that recognising gender inequality exists makes your organisation a gender obsessed discussion group

Within the SSP we have experimented with various methods of tackling gender inequality. These have included trying to ensure equal representation of men and women inside the various elected bodies of the SSP. We also try to ensure in elections we have equal representation of men and women, especially at the top of the list.

At the last council elections in Dundee we only stood 8 candidates. Not only did we have the highest percentage of female candidates (50%), at 4 we shockingly had the most female candidates. Labour had 16 candidates but only 1 woman standing!

You can read some more detailed articles about the SSP on feminism on the SSP site and on the SSY site

Read the whole A-Z of the SSP here

Posted in Equality, SSP | 3 Comments »

Vote SSP on May the 5th

Posted by alangdundee on April 26th, 2011

A lot of people in Dundee will have received a big pile of election leaflets through the door today. Sadly the SSP is quite low on finances and opted to only have a Royal Mail delivered leaflet in a small area of the country. SSP activists will be out in other areas, holding stalls and putting leaflets through doors ourselves.

We hold stalls and leaflet houses throughout the year, not just at election time. All done by activists and members of the parties. Unlike some which we won’t mention, we don’t hire non-members to go and leaflet for us…

On May the 5th Vote SSP on the regional list.

Posted in Election, Holyrood | No Comments »

A-Z of the SSP: Environment

Posted by alangdundee on April 25th, 2011

You can see the latest SSP policies on energy on our manifesto page.

Some of the highlights include

  • Responsibility for energy to be transferred from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament and the wealth of Scottish energy resources to be brought into public ownership.
  • The tightening of building regulations to compel construction companies to use sustainable sources for their construction materials and to ensure that energy efficiency is built into the design of buildings and appliances fitted.
  • 100 per cent grants, available to all, for insulation and double-glazing in private homes.
  • The cancellation of all airport expansion projects.
  • A ban on the transportation of nuclear materials on Scotland’s roads and railways.
  • The protection by law of ancient forests.
  • Refunds backdated by five years to households which have been forced to pay the higher charges associated with pre-payment meters.

You can read some fuller highlights of our policy at the manifesto page.

Read the whole A-Z of the SSP here

Posted in Environment, SSP | 1 Comment »

A-Z of the SSP: Drugs

Posted by alangdundee on April 21st, 2011

The SSP has approached the problem of drugs in a different way from most other parties. Instead of saying Drugs are bad, make them illegal and attack users we took the approach of saying drugs are bad – how can we reduce drug addiction. Instead of just condemning the effects of drug addiction we want to tackle them.

At the core of our policies were studies like this one in Switzerland

Some of the studies findings:

  • The improvements in physical health which occurred during treatment…also proved to be stable over the course of one and a half years and in some cases continued to increase
  • The pregnancies and births which occurred during treatment were adequately supervised…there were no indications of developmental defects in the neonates.
  • Illicit heroin and cocaine use rapidly and markedly regressed
  • The participants’ housing situation rapidly improved and stabilised (in particular, there were no longer any homeless)
  • Fitness for work improved considerably, those with permanent employment more than doubled
  • Debts during the treatment period were constantly and substantially reduced.
  • Income from illegal and semi-legal activities decreased dramatically: 10% as opposed to 59% originally.
  • Both the number of offenders and the number of criminal offences decreased by about 60% during the first six months of treatment

So if you were seriously wanting to tackle the societal as well as individual effects on users of heroin addiction, would you not list all these things as positives, things you would want to happen and be delighted if they happened in addition to reducing the number of users of heroin?

Well a further study was carried out in the UK in the early 90s to similar results, massive improvements in the health of addicts, reduction of usage by addicts, huge drops in opportunistic crime (burglaries, mugging, car theft etc) in the area around the trial. The cost to society in running the trial was far outmatched by the reduction in insurance claims for theft, imprisoning drugs users for possession of small amounts of drugs and so on.

Drugs and the Party Line

This study is discussed in depth in the book Drugs and the Party Line.

So what was this radical and effective method for tackling the problems caused by heroin addiction?

Controlled availability of heroin on prescription under the supervision of medical professionals.

The SSP looked for what solved the problem and decided that was the best way to achieve it. Essentially we recognised the effects of drug misuse as primarily a medical rather than a criminal problem.

The main SSP drug policies cover heroin (control it) and cannabis (legalise it). The SSY have written extensively on drugs most frequently about the media scare stories about mephedrone. They have written extensively to debunk the media hysteria on the issue.

The War on Drugs

In addition to this we also recognise the war on drugs as a policy which has failed, is failing and will continue to fail.

In prisons, every visitor can be searched, visits supervised. The prisoners can be searched and have their cells searched constantly. There are guards around the borders of the prison, who can search everywhere and at anytime.

There have been various reports that large numbers of people go into jail with no drug addiction and leave heroin addicts. What chance of controlling drug supply on a country scale?

Time for a sensible, proven to work approach to a serious problem!

You can watch a video of Jim Bollan discussing the devastating effects on a parent of seeing their child go through the current drug treatment system.

Read the whole A-Z of the SSP here

Posted in SSP | 1 Comment »

 

Promoted by Kevin McVey on behalf of the Scottish Socialist Party, Suite 370, 4th Floor Central Chambers 93 Hope St, Glasgow G2 6LD.