There are just five weeks left to organise for the mass demonstration against austerity on 20 October.
The build-up to the protest kicked into high gear at the TUC congress this week. Union leaders pledged to make it massive.
Outgoing TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said he hopes “it will be a momentous day”.
And PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said it needs to be “the biggest demonstration we have ever seen”.
Already there are signs that 20 October could be far bigger than the more than 500,000-strong demonstration on 26 March last year.
There are nine charter trains booked from the north west. That compares to the three that came down to join the 26 March protest.
And that’s on top of the scores of coaches already booked in towns and cities across the region. In Barnsley, south Yorkshire, the GMB and other unions have block booked train seats.
A planning meeting last week heard that local government workers have 41 people signed up to one coach—and are about to book a second.
The local branch of the bakers’ BFAWU union is organising its own coach. And the trades council is putting on two more to make extra spaces available for people who are not members of unions.
Local 20 October organiser Dave Gibson explained that lots of people are buying tickets. “It’s quite unprecedented to sell tickets on a street stall for a demo so far in advance,” he said.
Now the unions are producing more publicity. A new leaflet for the march from the Unison union puts the blame for the crisis where it belongs.
“I am a public employee,” it reads. “I keep you healthy and safe. I educate your children. I did not crash the economy… I did not accept bailout money and then give myself multi-million pound bonuses. I am not the problem.”
As well as the protest in London, the Scottish TUC has called a march in Glasgow. Coaches from across Scotland will bring people to the demonstration. More will protest in Belfast on the same day.
The TUC protest on 26 March last year showed the scale of opposition to Tory cuts. It gave confidence to workers everywhere to take on the government—and 20 October can do the same.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis has said that 20 October must be “more, much more than just a march. It must be the launchpad for our campaign against austerity”.
He added, “Across the regions, coaches are being filled, trains booked. Don’t miss the bus—book your place for 20 October.”