Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

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Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Leader Dave Nellist[1]
Founded 2010
Ideology Trade Unionism,
Democratic socialism,
Political position Left-wing to Far-left
National affiliation Socialist Party
Socialist Resistance
Socialist Workers Party
Local government[2][3]
5 / 21,871
Politics of the United Kingdom
Political parties

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is a socialist electoral alliance launched in Britain for the 2010 General Election. Prominent trade union support comes from the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT). TUSC's co-founder was former general secretary of the RMT, Bob Crow. Leading members of the Public and Commercial Services Union, the Prison Officers Association, the National Union of Teachers and the Fire Brigades Union are on the steering committee. Prominent participating socialist groups include the Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, and Solidarity. It aims to stand 100 MPs in the 2015 general election and up to 1000 councillors.[4][5] TUSC currently has a small number of affiliated councillors in Walsall, Southampton, Preston and Maltby.

Foundation: No2EU[edit]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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." [7] 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.[8][9][10]

After the European elections, in July 2009, the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) released a statement[11] 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 CPB declined to formally participate in the coalition.[12]

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".[13] The RMT, which had formally supported No2EU, initially decided, in January 2010, not to similarly back TUSC, but allowed individual branches to support it.[14] It later gave TUSC candidates its full backing (see below). On 12 January 2010, the coalition was announced[15] and subsequently, the RMT National Council of Executives supported 20 TUSC candidates on receipt of local RMT branch requests.[16] 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.[17]

Meanwhile, just after the 2009 European Elections, the SWP, 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",[18] in which it called for "a united fightback to save jobs and services" and subsequently joined TUSC.

Trade Union endorsement[edit]

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 POA, Steve Gillan and Joe Simpson, General Secretary and Assistant General Secretary of the POA, Janice Godrich, President of the PCS, Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary of the PCS and eight members of the UNISON National Executive Council.

Criticism from the Unite union[edit]

In February 2015, senior figures from Unite the Union condemned the Socialist Party and TUSC for standing candidates against Labour in marginal constituencies for the 2015 general election, and accused TUSC of having a "derisory" electoral record. In response, the SP claimed that a Labour government "would be at best austerity-lite and a continuation of the crisis that faces working-class people."[19]


TUSC is a coalition, not a political party, with a federal structure. All candidates supporting the coalition must support a core declaration of principles, but beyond this each candidate is free to campaign on the platform of their own political party.[14]

The TUSC national steering committee comprises: Peter Pinkney, RMT National President, and RMT National Executive members Sean Hoyle, Darren Procter, Steve Skelly and Sean McGowan, representing the RMT; representatives from the Socialist Party, the SWP and the TUSC Independent Socialist Network; plus, in a personal capacity, Steve Gillan, POA General Secretary; Chris Baugh, PCS Assistant General Secretary; Joe Simpson, POA Assistant General Secretary; John McInally, PCS Vice-President; Ian Leahair, FBU National Executive; Nina Franklin, ex-NUT President; Brian Caton, ex-POA General Secretary; Cllr Michael Lavalette; Cllr Keith Morrell; Cllr Don Thomas; Nick Wrack.

In February 2015, RMT president Peter Pinkney defected to the Green Party of England and Wales.


General Elections[edit]

2010 General Election[edit]

TUSC and the Scottish TUSC (STUSC) announced the below list of parliamentary candidates for the 2010 general election, including ten in Scotland.[20] 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,.[21]

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."[22] Another claimed factor in 2010 was a perceived "Squeeze"[23] 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.[24]

England & Wales[edit]
Constituency Candidate Affiliation Result - votes Result - % Loss/gain
Coventry North East Dave Nellist Socialist Party (stood as Socialist Alternative) 1,592 3.7% -1.2%[25]
Tottenham Jenny Sutton UCU 1,057 2.6% +2.6%
Colne Valley Jackie Grunsell Socialist Party 741 1.3% +1.3%
Salford & Eccles David Henry Green Left 730 1.8% +1.8%
Coventry South Judy Griffiths Socialist Party (stood as Socialist Alternative) 691 1.5% -1.2%[25]
Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough Maxine Bowler Socialist Workers Party 656 1.7% n/a
Lewisham Deptford Ian Page Socialist Party (stood as Socialist Alternative) 645 1.6% -0.6%[25]
Bootle Pete Glover Socialist Party 472 1.1% -1.5%[25]
Carlisle John Metcalfe Communist Party of Britain 376 0.9% n/a
Coventry North West Nicky Downes Socialist Party (stood as Socialist Alternative) 370 0.8% -0.7%[25]
Cambridge City Martin Booth Cambridge Socialists (listed as Cambridge Socialists on ballot paper and results) 362 0.7% +0.7%
Manchester Gorton Karen Reissmann Socialist Workers Party 337 0.9% +0.9%
Huddersfield Paul Cooney UNISON 319 0.8% +0.8%
Walthamstow Nancy Taaffe Socialist Party 279 0.7% -1.4%[25]
Wythenshawe and Sale East Lynn Worthington Socialist Party 268 0.7% -0.3%[25]
Greenwich and Woolwich Onay Kasab Socialist Party 267 0.6% +0.6%
Gateshead Elaine Brunskill Socialist Party 266 0.7% n/a
Wellingborough and Rushden Cllr Paul Crofts Wellingborough Socialists 249 0.5% +0.5%
Bristol South Tom Baldwin Socialist Party 206 0.4% +0.4%
Liverpool Walton Daren Ireland RMT 195 0.6% +0.6%
Brighton Kemptown Dave Hill Socialist Resistance 194 0.5% +0.2%[25]
Bristol East Rachel Lynch Socialist Party 184 0.4% +0.4%
Doncaster North Bill Rawcliffe RMT[26] 181 0.4% +0.4%
Swansea West Rob Williams Socialist Party 179 0.5% -0.4%[25]
Spelthorne Paul Couchman Socialist Party 176 0.4% +0.4%
Southampton Itchen Tim Cutter Socialist Party 168 0.4% +0.4%
Cardiff Central Ross Saunders Socialist Party 162 0.4% +0.4%
Leicester West Steve Score Socialist Party 157 0.4% -1.3%[25]
Portsmouth North Mick Tosh RMT 154 0.3% +0.3%
Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle Keith Gibson Socialist Party 150 0.5% +0.5%
Stoke-on-Trent Central Matthew Wright Socialist Party 133 0.4% -0.5%[25]
Redcar Hannah Walter Socialist Party 127 0.3% +0.3%
Constituency Candidate Affiliation Votes -cast Result - % Loss/gain
Glasgow South West Tommy Sheridan Solidarity (stood as Solidarity - TUSC) 931 2.9% -2.5%[27]
Motherwell and Wishaw Ray Gunnion CWI/Solidarity 609 1.6% -1.1%[27]
Dundee West Jim McFarlane CWI/Solidarity 357 1.0% -1.7%[28]
Glasgow South Brian Smith CWI/Solidarity 351 0.9% -2.5%[27]
Glasgow North Angela McCormick SWP/Solidarity 287 1.0% -2.8%[27]
Edinburgh East Gary Clark CWI/Solidarity 274 0.7% -1.5%[27]
Edinburgh North and Leith Willie Black SWP/Solidarity 233 0.5% -1.4%[27]
Glasgow North East Graham Campbell SWP/Solidarity 187 0.6% -4.3%[28]
Midlothian Willie Duncan Solidarity 166 0.4% -1.5%[27]
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey George McDonald Solidarity (stood as Solidarity - TUSC) 135 0.3% -0.7%[28]

2015 General Election[edit]

TUSC aims to stand 100 candidates for MPs in the 2015 general election (as well as up to 1000 councillors).[29][30]

The organisation announced in October 2014 that it had received a guarantee of funding from Socialist Alliance.[31] The funds would provide for one hundred deposits in parliamentary contests, as well as a Party Political Broadcast.

Local and By-elections[edit]

2011 Local Elections[edit]

TUSC stood 174 candidates in the May 2011 council elections.[32] In thirteen seats TUSC polled over 10% and in over a quarter polled more than 5%. The average vote was 5.2%.

2011 Welsh Assembly Election[edit]

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[edit]

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.[33] 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).[34] The TUSC campaign for the Greater London Assembly was launched by Bob Crow of the RMT and Matt Wrack of the FBU,[35] 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[edit]

A total of 120 candidates contested the English local elections on May 2 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 twenty-seven 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[edit]

TUSC announced the 'biggest left-of-Labour electoral challenge in sixty years' in the 2014 local elections, fielding a total of 561 candidates.[36] 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 a seat in Southampton for Keith Morrell, previously a Labour councillor,[37] and a second seat in Maltby.[38]

2015 Local Elections[edit]

TUSC announced its intentions to field over 1,000 candidates locally to coincide with its General Election campaign.

List of organisations in TUSC[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Keith Edkins (30 November 2009). "Local Council Political Compositions". Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  3. ^ Nicholas Whyte (10 May 2005). "The 2005 Local Government Elections in Northern Ireland". Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Socialist Party congress reports". Socialist Party. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  7. ^ a b "Action needed to bring election coalition into shape". Socialist Party. 3 November 2009. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  8. ^ "Europe". Socialist Party. 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  9. ^ "Europe". Socialist Party. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  10. ^ "Rising class struggles across Europe". Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Executive Committee statement on elections". Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  13. ^ "Capitalism :: British politics". Socialist Party. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  14. ^ a b Clive Heemskerk, "Trade unionist and socialist coalition", The Socialist, 3 February 2010
  15. ^ "Launch of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition". Socialist Party. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  16. ^ Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates,
  17. ^ ""Son of No2EU" goes public as "TUSC"". Workers' Liberty. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  18. ^ "Open letter: Left must unite to create an alternative". 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  19. ^ "Unite’s left urges Tusc to reconsider". Morning Star. 2015-02-27. Retrieved 2015-03-01. 
  20. ^ "Candidates for TUSC". Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  21. ^ [url= Commission: Register of Political Parties]
  22. ^ [url= by-elections|publisher=TUSC|date=1 December 2012]
  23. ^ [url='s general election: no winner and no mandate|publisher=Socialist Worker|date=6th May 2010]
  24. ^ "The left in the election: good campaigns but TUSC vote squeezed". Socialist Worker. 11 May 2010. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Compared with Socialist Alternative result 2005
  26. ^ "Sacked Jarvis rail worker goes head to head with Ed Miliband in Doncaster North", RMT, 4 May 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g Compared with Scottish Socialist Party result (different candidate) in 2005
  28. ^ a b c Compared with Scottish Socialist Party result (same candidate) in 2005
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Socialist Alliance agrees to use large part of recent legacy to help fund largest possible left electoral challenge – through TUSC". Retrieved 2014-12-13. 
  32. ^ "TUSC candidates for May council elections 2011 - regional breakdown". TUSC. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  33. ^ TUSC 2012 local election results
  34. ^ TUSC candidates in the 2012 elections
  35. ^ GLA Election campaign launch
  36. ^ "TUSC announces 'biggest left-of-Labour electoral challenge in sixty years'". TUSC. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  37. ^
  38. ^

External links[edit]