Hundreds of workers marched through York last Saturday in protest at attacks on jobs and services.
The GMB, CWU, Unite, PCS and Community unions called the protest in response to threats to close job centres and post offices in the area. Protesters were demanding that the recently closed York Remploy factory be reopened.
The issue of Remploy, which employs disabled workers but has faced mass job losses, dominated the march. People travelled from across the country to join the protest.
Tony Gledhill is a senior shop steward for the GMB in Leeds. “Disabled workers have been thrown on the scrapheap,” he told Socialist Worker. “The credit crunch is going to make it even harder for disabled workers to find jobs.
“The government is bringing in welfare ‘reforms’ to get people off incapacity benefit – but it’s closing the places where they could learn new skills.”
Marchers were angry at the way New Labour has treated them. “The GMB gives money to the government but it isn’t supporting the workers,” said Stephen Cook, a GMB member from Leeds Remploy.
“They should take the money that they gave to the banks back and use it to reopen Remploy factories. The government isn’t doing anything for us – we’ve got to do it ourselves.”
Speakers at a rally included GMB general secretary Paul Kenny, CWU general secretary Billy Hayes and Les Woodward, national convenor of the Remploy trade union consortium.