Socialist Worker

Local elections: 'We have to make a stand and fight back'

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2249

Trade unionists in Lancashire have given their backing to independent socialist councillor Michael Lavalette, who is standing for re-election in Preston’s town centre ward.

Lancashire Fire Brigades Union secretary Steve Harman said, “Michael has never given us anything less than 100 percent support.

“I call on all those who are committed to public services and to trade unionism to vote for him.”

Ray Atkinson from the postal workers’ CWU union added, “While other councillors talk about supporting anti‑privatisation campaigns and fighting the government’s cuts, Michael is leading by his actions.”

Campaigners were out canvassing across Michael’s ward over the weekend—and will be out daily until the elections.

On the Avenham Estate, where residents are living with dire damp and mould, Michael helped to initiate a campaign that has forced private social housing landlord Contour to act.

Malgorzata Siatka, one of the residents on the estate, told Socialist Worker, “We were desperate for help, and Michael has done so much. We are finally making progress. Until now we felt like we were alone.”

The campaign includes the threat of a rent boycott.

Preston’s Independent Housing Officer visited homes on the estate last week. Contour were then forced to a meeting and told that the housing officer will be investigating.

Contour will be issued with an enforcement order to fix problems that are cited as their responsibility.

“The problems on the Avenham Estate sum up why I am standing for re-election,” Michael told Socialist Worker.

“People here have been abandoned. The cuts will make their lives worse. We have to make a stand and fight back.”

The Socialist Workers Party is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). TUSC is standing 154 candidates across more than 50 councils in the upcoming elections on 5 May. TUSC is also backing socialists from different organisations standing in a further 28 seats.

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Article information

Tue 26 Apr 2011, 17:53 BST
Issue No. 2249
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