The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) will be standing parliamentary candidates across Britain in May’s general election.
Firefighter Simon Hickman is standing in Manchester Gorton.
“Someone like me would have been considered a traditional Labour voter,” Simon told Socialist Worker. “But I was absolutely sick of there being no party on offer for working class people.”
He said, “A lot of people tell us they’ve given up on politics. They don’t see anyone who speaks to them. So they find it really refreshing when they see us. Last week one person said ‘He doesn’t look like a toff—I can vote for him’.”
The same arguments are going on inside the trade union movement.
Simon said, “Unions give millions to Labour, but they have little say on its policies.
“Our union disaffiliated from Labour after our pay dispute with a Labour government. But the workers’ movement needs its own political voice.
If Labour isn’t it then we need something else.”
Simon organised one of the biggest regional demonstrations in the dispute over firefighters’ pensions.
But perhaps the biggest battle he has been in locally was against the cuts.
“We successfully fought to keep the library and swimming baths open here in Levenshulme,” he said. “There have been devastating cuts in Manchester. Every NHS and council service is up for grabs. We want to bring the resistance together, and say we don’t want to cut any of them.”