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Sheffield Left - For Socialism - 'For the many, not the few'

A bulletin for Socialists – both inside and outside the Labour Party – supporting transformative, socialist policies and progressive campaigns.

SL E-Bulletin #77 - 21 April 2022

We need far more than slogans
 
W
e are firmly in slogan season. The May local elections are stretching the creativity of the Labour Party to come up with new slogans that just might persuade voters to back Labour.
 
Sheffield Labour Group wants to “Put Sheffield First” – though no-one is clear what this means, e.g. who are they putting second or third? Meanwhile Mayoral candidate Oliver Coppard wants to “restore pride, purpose and prosperity” to the region – not a wholesome endorsement of his Labour colleagues who have been in charge in the region up to now.
 
But behind all these words, what policies are on offer to address what has been described as the worst cost of living crisis since the 1930s by many commentators?
 
And it is policies where Labour has been light on detail under Starmer. Many believe that his one policy is to declare that he is not Boris Johnson – setting the bar low seems to be part of the Starmer project.
 
What of one key policy area – the question of public transport? There is no doubt that the rushed privatisation of the railways at the fag end of the Tory years in the mid 1990s has been a disaster.
 
Recent opinion polls show anything between 64 and 73 per cent of the public support bringing public transport back into public control. 
 
But that is only half the story. The reality for workers is that public transport is just too expensive. Train fares have raced ahead of any paltry wage increases year on year to feed dividends to private shareholders.
 
Bus fares have also suffered as routes have become “uneconomic” and Sheffield saw a five per cent increase in bus fares in February – putting further pressure on people living on the breadline.
 
While the system allows private companies to run public transport for profit so they can reward their shareholders, buses and trains will be hiked out of reach of the working poor.
 
A national policy commitment to bring all public transport back into public control and reduce fares to an affordable level is a vote winner. And it feeds into the ‘reviving local economies’ narrative which Labour is fond of pushing.
 
Workers cannot get to jobs if train and bus fares take too much of their wages – and in some areas bus services don’t even exist.
 
The overwhelming impression given by Labour is that it is afraid to be bold, reacts to events and Tory policies and has failed to produce a comprehensive strategy for addressing the cost-of-living crisis.
 
This crisis is a product of Brexit, Covid and 12 years of austerity – not to mention the failure of capitalism. Starmer’s Labour is afraid to confront the disaster of Brexit or challenge the severity of austerity. 
 
With the public ahead of Labour on transport policy,  it is time that the Party climbed on board and drove a programme of nationalisation, with workers and passengers playing the key role in decision making, alongside cheap fares rather than be a passenger on the Tory Road to oblivion. 

JustEat Couriers Action Continues

JustEat couriers, part of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), have been taking action now for over 100 days after subcontractor Stuart Delivery cut the base rate of pay by 24% in early December last year.


Couriers, who are forced to pay vehicle and fuel expenses out of their own wages, have targeted high-profile JustEat clients, taking direct action against McDonald’s, KFC, and Greggs.

During recent talks between management and union representatives, Stuart’s UK General Manager Brendan Hamill said that courier fees were previously too high.   This represented the first admission from the company that the new pay structure equates to a pay cut, despite Stuart previously claiming that the 24% cut to the base rate rolled out in early December 2021 was “fairer”.

Many couriers are forced to work upwards of 70 hours a week to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Stuart Delivery, handed a £2 million pay rise to CEO Damien Bon in 2020. 

Action is taking place in Sheffield, Middlesbrough, Chesterfield, Morley, Birstall, Heckmondwike, Ashford, and Worcester with actions having taken place previously in Huddersfield, Sunderland, Blackpool, Mansfield, Wolverhampton, Folkestone, Thanet, Aldershot, Farnborough, and Belfast.

 

Sheffield Left

Sheffield Left (SL) is a network of socialists to help co-ordinate the determined left both inside and outside the Labour Party across Sheffield.

We have a page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SheffieldLabourLeft) and our own website (http://www.sheffieldlabourleft.org), where you can find an archive of our first 76 bulletins.

Want to get involved with SL or become a member? Contact us at the email address below.
Labour movement events and meetings in April/May


Sunday 24th April:  Solidarity with Kurdish fighters resisting invasion by the Turkish army. Sheffield Town Hall at noon.  Organised by South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG).

Tuesday 26th April:  Sheffield Trades Union Council (STUC) monthly meeting.  Starts at 7pm.  All trade union members welcome, only delegates can vote.

Thursday 28th April:  International Workers Memorial Day.  12.30pm to 1.30pm by the Memorial Tree outside Sheffield Town Hall Pinstone Street. Wreath laying ceremony and speakers. Please bring union banners.

Saturday 30th April:  Sheffield against Conversion Therapy. Outside City Hall at 11am.

Sunday 1st May:  Sheffield May Day Rally.  Assemble at Devonshire Green at 11.30am.  March off at noon to Town Hall for rally with speakers at approximately 12.30.

Sunday 1st May:  Sheffield Left May Day Social.  Evening event.  Invite only for members, supporters, friends and families.

Monday 2nd May:  Chesterfield May Day event.  Assemble 11am in the square for the march.  Rally and stalls all day in the square.

Wednesday 4th May:  South Yorkshire Unite Community Branch monthly meeting.  6.30pm start.  Zoom.

Thursday 12th May:  Festival of Debate.  'Trade Unions Fighting back in the Community'. 7pm @ Central Reform Church, Norfolk Street. Organised by Sheffield TUC to discuss how local trade union branches and the Trades Council are linking positively with our local communities – and standing up to poverty, inequality and discrimination. Evening panel debate with speakers and discussion.

Friday 13th May:  Sheffield PSC Film Show - 7pm start at The Yemeni Hall, Hadfield Institute, 43 Attercliffe Common, Sheffield S9 2AE. FREE ENTRY 
DONATIONS ARE WELCOME to help continue with efforts to support Sheffield PSC projects in the Gaza Strip, Palestine.  Tea/Coffee/ Cakes and biscuits will be available.

Saturday 14th May:  Sheffield PSC Rally. Outside the Town Hall at 12 midday, to mark 74 years since the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (NAKBA) at the hands of Zionist militias.

Tuesday 24th May:  Sheffield Trades Union Council (STUC) monthly meeting.  Starts at 7pm.  All trade union members welcome, only delegates can vote.

Sunday 29th May:  Cuba Solidarity Campaign meeting.  1pm to 3pm. Room 5 Sheffield Showroom, Paternoster Row Sheffield S1.  Speaker from Cuba: Elizabeth Ribalta Rubiera from ICAP (Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples).


Labour Party Constituency Meetings:
Brightside & Hillsborough CLP monthly meetings held 1st Thursday of the month.
South East CLP monthly meetings held 3rd Friday of the month.
Central CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month.
Hallam CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month.
Penistone & Stocksbridge CLP monthly meetings held 4th Thursday of the month
Heeley CLP monthly meetings held last Thursday of the month.
 
Our mailing address is:
info@sheffieldlabourleft.org
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Sheffield Campaigning · 38 Headland Road · Sheffield, South Yorkshie S10 · United Kingdom

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