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Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
LeaderDave Nellist[1]
IdeologyTrade unionism
Political positionLeft-wing[2][3] to far-left[4]
Pink, brown and red
MembersSocialist Party
Socialist Party Scotland
Socialist Workers Party
House of Commons
0 / 650
House of Lords
0 / 809
European Parliament
0 / 73
Local government
0 / 21,871

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is a socialist electoral alliance launched in Britain for the 2010 general election.[5][6][7][8]

TUSC's co-founder was the RMT union general secretary Bob Crow. Members of the PCS, NUT, FBU and POA unions are on the steering committee. The biggest component section of TUSC is the RMT.[9] The most prominent participating political groups are the Socialist Party and Solidarity. TUSC stood 135 (parliamentary) candidates across England, Wales and Scotland at the 2015 general election[10] and 619 the same day in local government elections.[11]

Following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, TUSC did not stand candidates in the 2017 UK general election and suspended electoral activity in November 2018.[12] In July 2020, the Socialist Party called for the relaunch of the alliance[13] and in September the TUSC steering committee agreed to resume standing candidates in elections scheduled for May 2021.[9]

Foundation: No2EU

At the March 2009 Socialist Party congress, RMT executive members Alex Gordon and Brian Denny addressed Socialist Party delegates in an official capacity, outlining the RMT's proposal for workers slates in the European elections in June. At a later congress session this initiative was formally agreed by congress delegates, and No to EU – Yes to Democracy (NO2EU) was formed.[14] NO2EU, an electoral alliance, headed by Bob Crow, between the RMT, the Communist Party of Britain and the Socialist Party, subsequently led to the formation of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. The Socialist Party, which had previously participated in the Socialist Alliance and Welsh Socialist Alliance and backed the Campaign for a New Workers' Party, termed No2EU "an important first step towards independent working class political representation", despite criticisms of the name and other minor issues.[15] The Socialist Party stated it "would prefer a name that includes 'socialism', for marked ideological contrast to New Labour, and also one that makes it clear that the coalition is a working class alternative." [15] Nevertheless, the Socialist Party noted the success of Die Linke in Germany, the New Anticapitalist Party in France and Coalition of the Radical Left in Greece, and emphasized the need for a "genuine socialist alternative" in the European elections.[16][17][18]

After the European elections, in July 2009, the CPB released a statement[19] expressing willingness to continue the No2EU programme and support left-wing alliance candidates in some constituencies, but also called for a vote for Labour Party candidates in others. However, on 17 January 2010 the Executive Committee of the Communist Party declined to formally participate in the coalition.[20]

Negotiations to found the coalition continued over several months after the EU election. One proposed name for the coalition was "Trade Unionists and Green Socialists Alliance".[21] The RMT, which had formally supported No2EU, initially decided, in January 2010, not to similarly back TUSC, but allowed individual branches to support it.[22] It later gave TUSC candidates its full backing (see below). On 12 January 2010, the coalition was announced[23] and subsequently, the RMT National Council of Executives supported 20 TUSC candidates on receipt of local RMT branch requests.[24] TUSC chairperson Dave Nellist stood as a candidate for the coalition in the constituency of Coventry North East. Among the other candidates were Jackie Grunsell in Colne Valley constituency, Keith Gibson in Hull West and Hessle, Dave Hill in Brighton Kemptown, Ian Page in Lewisham Deptford, Rob Williams in Swansea West and Tim Cutter in Southampton Itchen.

Some political groups such as the Alliance for Workers Liberty and the Weekly Worker newspaper have argued that the coalition was formed in secret and without democratic input.[25]

Meanwhile, just after the 2009 European Elections, the Socialist Workers Party, which had not taken part in No2EU but which had itself been part of the Socialist Alliance and the Respect Party, published its "Open Letter to the Left",[26] in which it called for "a united fightback to save jobs and services" and subsequently joined TUSC; it left TUSC (England and wales) in 2017 but remains part of the autonomous Scottish TUSC.[27]

Trade Union interaction

Trade Union endorsement

Three Annual General Meetings (2012, 2013 and 2014) of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have endorsed RMT support for TUSC candidates and the RMT is formally represented on the TUSC steering committee. TUSC has been endorsed by the late Bob Crow, formerly the General Secretary of the RMT, Brian Caton, former General Secretary of the Prison Officers' Association (POA), Steve Gillan and Joe Simpson, General Secretary and Assistant General Secretary of the POA, Janice Godrich, President of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary of the PCS and eight members of the UNISON National Executive Council.

Criticism from the Unite union

In February 2015, senior figures from Unite the Union condemned the Socialist Party and by implication TUSC, for standing candidates against Labour in marginal constituencies for the 2015 general election. The open letter addressed to the Socialist Party, which does not mention TUSC, accuses the Socialist Party of having a "derisory" electoral record.[28] In response, the Socialist Party claimed that a Labour government "would be at best austerity-lite and a continuation of the crisis that faces working class people."[29]

Alleged TUSC infiltration of the Labour Party in 2015

In July 2015, Labour MP Steve Reed accused TUSC members in his Croydon North constituency, including a TUSC candidate who had stood against Labour in the May 2015 general election, of joining the Labour Party in order to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election. According to Reed: "The system was set up for Labour supporters, not Labour opponents. We don’t know if this is a one-off or a systemic attempt by Trotskyites to infiltrate the Labour Party."[30] In an interview for The Independent, Socialist Party deputy leader Hannah Sell stated that "a Corbyn victory would create the basis for a new 100 per cent anti-austerity party of the working class."[31]

As of early August 2015, 92 TUSC members, including 11 TUSC candidates who stood in the 2015 general election, are known to have become registered supporters of the Labour Party.[32][33]


TUSC is a political party with a federal structure, not a coalition. It has been registered as a political party with the Electoral Commission since 2010. All candidates supporting the coalition must support a core policy platform, but beyond this each candidate is free to campaign on the platform of their own political party.[22]

TUSC launched its manifesto for the 2015 general election in London's financial district of Canary Wharf.[34]

The TUSC registered with the Electoral Commission to campaign in favour of Britain leaving the European Union.

Five key pledges

The manifesto outlines "five key pledges":[35]

  • 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. £10.12 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 the National Health Service, railways, public services, utilities and banks.

Local election platform

TUSC local election candidates sign up to a platform,[35] which commits them to:

  • Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions; reject the claim that ‘some cuts’ are necessary to services or that the national debt is a reason for austerity.
  • Refuse to implement the Bedroom Tax now. Councils should write off all bedroom tax-related arrears, withdraw all court proceedings and eviction orders where the bedroom tax has been a factor, and call on Housing Associations to do the same.
  • Support all workers’ struggles against the cuts, privatisation and government policies making ordinary people pay for the crisis caused by the bankers and the bosses. Defend the national collective bargaining arrangements for council workers.
  • Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts.
  • 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.
  • Campaign for the introduction of a Living Wage above the minimum wage, including for council employees and those working for council contractors.
  • Use all the legal powers available to councils to oppose both the cuts and government policies which centrally impose the transfer of public services to private bodies. This includes using councils’ powers to refer local NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations in campaigns to defend public services.
  • Vote for councils to refuse to implement the cuts. Support councils which in the first instance use their reserves and prudential borrowing powers to avoid making cuts. [and] argue the best way to mobilise the mass campaign that is necessary to defeat the dismantling of council services is to set a budget that meets the needs of the local community and demands that government funding makes up the shortfall.
  • Support action against climate change and for a future where sustainability comes before profit.


General elections

Summary of general election performance

Year No. of candidates Total votes Average votes per candidate % of vote Change (% points) Saved deposits* No. of MPs Rank
2010 44 15,573 354 0.1 0
2015 126 36,327 284 0.1 0

2010 general election

TUSC and the Scottish TUSC (STUSC) announced 44 parliamentary candidates for the 2010 general election, including ten in Scotland.[36] They received a total of 15,573 votes, or 0.1% of the popular vote. TUSC's average vote nationwide was around 371 (1.0%); no deposits were returned. TUSC was registered with the Electoral Commission in January 2010.[37]

TUSC claimed that the possibilities of electoral success should not be exaggerated. TUSC consistently stated that "not too much can be drawn from a handful of electoral contests, either ‘writing off’ TUSC or exaggerating the possibilities at this stage."[38] Another claimed factor in 2010 was a perceived "squeeze"[39] that generated disappointing results for many smaller parties. "Fear of a Tory government galvanised people to vote Labour, and we were squeezed. People were too afraid to demand something better for fear of getting something worse." Tottenham candidate Jenny Sutton claimed.[40]

2015 general election

Map of the constituencies TUSC contested in the 2015 general election.
Map of the constituencies TUSC contested in the 2015 general election.

TUSC stood 135 prospective parliamentary candidates across England, Wales and Scotland,[10] as well as 619 council candidates in local elections.[11]

The organisation announced in October 2014 that it had received a guarantee of funding from Socialist Alliance.[41] The funds would provide for one hundred deposits in parliamentary contests, as well as a Party Political Broadcast.[42]

The party performed badly at the election, winning 36,327 votes, or 0.1% of the popular vote. No parliamentary seats were gained and no deposits were saved.[43][44]

2017 general election

TUSC called for a victory for Labour in the 2017 general election and did not run candidates in the elections.[45]

Local elections

2011 local elections

TUSC stood 174 candidates in the May 2011 council elections.[46] In 13 seats TUSC polled over 10% and in over a quarter polled more than 5%. The average vote was 50.2%.

2011 Welsh Assembly election

TUSC stood a total number of 24 candidates out of two Welsh Assembly regions in the 2011 Welsh Assembly elections in which it came 10th place out of 11 parties in the South Wales West region with 809 votes (0.5%) and for the South Wales Central region, it came 11th place out of 12 parties with 830 votes (0.4%). It gained 1,639 votes in total with 0.2% nationwide.

2012 local elections

TUSC stood 132 candidates in 38 councils, with 17 candidates for the Greater London Assembly. Two TUSC-backed candidates were elected, Michael Lavalette in Preston and Peter Smith in Walsall.[47] In the council elections in England and Wales TUSC candidates averaged 6.2% of the poll. Tony Mulhearn, one of the 47 Liverpool Councillors who refused to set a budget for the council, and led a campaign of defiance of the Conservative government in the 1980s stood as the candidate for Mayor of Liverpool, coming fifth with 4.86% of the vote. In Scotland, 38 candidates stood in nine councils as the Scottish Anti-Cuts Coalition (SACC).[48] The TUSC campaign for the Greater London Assembly was launched by Bob Crow of the RMT and Matt Wrack of the FBU,[49] and candidates included Alex Gordon, President of the RMT trade union and April Ashley a member of the UNISON National Executive.

TUSC stood candidates in the 2012 by-elections for Manchester Central (garnering 1.3%), Middlesbrough (1.6%) and Rotherham (1.3%).

2013 local and by-elections

A total of 120 candidates contested the English local elections on 2 May under the TUSC umbrella, 5% of the seats. In addition, TUSC stood a candidate in the Doncaster mayoral contest and two candidates in council by-elections that were held on the same day. It was mainly county councils up for election, largely Conservative controlled. The TUSC candidate for the mayor of Doncaster, Mary Jackson, polled 1,916 votes, achieving sixth place, ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

TUSC stood in the Eastleigh by-election. Candidate Daz Procter achieved 0.15% of the vote. Up to mid-November 2013, TUSC had contested 27 council by-elections in 2013 (with candidates in place for ten more). TUSC’s average percentage share of the vote in these seats was just under 6%. Joe Robinson won a seat for TUSC on Maltby Town Council.

2014 local elections

TUSC announced the 'biggest left-of-Labour electoral challenge in 60 years' in the 2014 local elections, fielding 561 candidates.[50] There were 53 candidates who were members of the RMT transport workers' union, 19 Communication Workers' Union members who were candidates, 18 members of the National Union of Teachers, 16 PCS members, 20 members of the University and College Union. From the big Labour-affiliated unions, there were 74 Unison members standing for TUSC and 130 members of Unite. TUSC gained two seats in Southampton with the defection of Don Thomas from Labour and the re-election of Keith Morrell, also previously Labour, as Councillors Against Cuts,[51] as well as a second seat on Maltby Town Council. The overall popular votes achieved in the campaign exceeded 68,000.[52]

TUSC lost its representation in Maltby in the autumn of 2014 with the removal of their two councillors for non-attendance,[53] and lost its Preston councillor when Michael Lavalette retired his seat.[54] However, TUSC gained two affiliated councillors in the shape of Hull Red Labour, following their expulsion from Labour in 2014.[55] In January 2015, TUSC gained a councillor in Warrington (Fairfield and Howley ward) with the defection of Kevin Bennett from Labour.[56]

2015 local elections

TUSC renewed its promise to field the largest left-of-Labour challenge in the parliamentary and local authority elections. It bolstered its 2014 local election candidacy count by 70, bringing the total to 650. As it also fielded 135 PPCs, in every major town and city in England, Wales, and Scotland, TUSC subsequently exceeded the overall number of candidates to satisfy the BBC's fair coverage threshold, qualifying it for distribution of election material via the Royal Mail, as well as time on the major networks for the airing of a Party Election Broadcast.[57]

TUSC gained no seats (and, in one ward, no votes) and lost three anti-cuts councillors in Leicester and Hull. They retain one affiliated councillor each in Warrington, Walsall and Hull, and two in Southampton.[58]

2016 local elections

Following the 2016 elections, TUSC had three councillors in Southampton under the banner of Coxford Putting People First,[59] Kevin Bennett having lost his seat in Warrington;[60] Hull Red Labour and Walsall Democratic Labour also lost their remaining seats.

2018 local elections

Following the 2018 elections, TUSC retained at least one affiliated councillor in Coxford, Southampton, following the re-election (as Independent - Putting People First) of TUSC national steering committee member Keith Morrell.[61] Two other former Putting People First councillors also retain their seats as Independents, but the group has since dissolved.[62] Morrell resigned in 2019.[63]

TUSC constituent organisations

Each of TUSC's constituent organisations are entitled to representation on the national steering committee and engage in decision-making regarding policy, strategy, and the selection of candidates. They include:

Other organisations currently or previously linked to TUSC


  1. ^ "Dave Nellist on the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition". Daily Politics. BBC. 22 April 2010.
  2. ^ Waugh, Paul (20 September 2019). "Harriet Harman Urged To Pull Out Of Commons Speaker Race By Local Labour Party". Huffpost. Retrieved 7 April 2020. The motion by Nick Wrack, who was readmitted to Labour after standing against Harman for the left-wing TUSC party four years ago, cites the precedent of Tories warning they would stand a candidate against John Bercow if he stayed on.
  3. ^ Prest, Victoria (18 April 2015). "Trade Union and Socialist Party (TUSC) to contest eight seats in York council elections". The Press. Retrieved 7 April 2020. The left-wing party Trade Union and Socialist Party (TUSC) is fielding eight would-be councillors for seats on City of York Council, as well as a parliamentary candidate in York Central.
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    BBC News. Published 10 April 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  6. ^ ‘TUSC is 100% anti-austerity’: Socialists launch election manifesto in heart of UK capitalism
    'The left-wing organization is fielding candidates in more than 130 parliamentary seats and over 600 council seats across the country in May’s general election'.
    RT [online]. Published 10 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
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  48. ^ TUSC candidates in the 2012 elections
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  59. ^ "Third anti-cuts councillor elected in Coxford! Congratulations Tammy Thomas!". Southampton TUSC. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
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  63. ^ "Councillor who once rebelled against Labour resigns - but hasn't given a reason why". Daily Echo.
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External links

This page was last edited on 26 September 2020, at 14:13
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