Activists across Britain are gearing up for a massive protest when the G20 meets in London later this month.
The Put People First demonstration on Saturday 28 March has an impressive list of backers – including all of the main trade unions in Britain, NGOs and charities.
The world leaders are pouring money into the banks and prioritising the propping up of capitalism.
But activists are also gathering together – to demand that the G20 prioritises jobs, justice and climate instead.
Many organisations have come together to build the protest. The World Development Movement (WDM) is part of the coalition.
“The economic crisis should be providing G20 leaders with an opportunity to fight the economic crisis and climate change,” Kate from the WDM told Socialist Worker.
“Ordinary people want to see strong action – the economic system needs to be radically overhauled. We need serious change – this is not an opportunity that should be missed.”
For many of those building the protest, the massive scale of global job losses is the key issue that the G20 have to deal with.
The recession has hit working people hard and the G20 can be an opportunity to build a campaign for the right to work and to stop the jobs massacre.
Phil Turner is a trade unionist in Rotherham. “We’ve booked a coach with my union, the NUJ, and the PCS and UCU unions.
“We’re having a planning meeting this week and have contacted all the local NGO groups to invite them along.
“Jobs are the biggest issue round here at the moment. We’ve had big losses, such as around 1,000 at the Corus steelworks, and it feels like jobs are going every day.
“Rotherham job centre is overrun and people are having to wait five weeks for their benefits to come through.
“It’s not just those job losses that make the headlines that have an impact on people’s lives – Jaguar workers have gone onto a four day week and jobs are under threat everywhere.
“We have to turn the anger over job losses and job insecurity into a fight that can win justice for working people.”
Plymouth Trades Council booked a coach to the 28 March protest on Monday of this week, after different union branches contributed money towards the transport.
“I think people who know about the protest are excited about it,” Dave Franklin, vice-chair of Plymouth Trades Council, told Socialist Worker. “Now the key thing is to spread the word.
“I’m in the PCS union and we’ll be discussing how to publicise it to our members at our branch committee meeting this week.”
Transport to the protest has been booked from several towns and cities across Britain. At least 14 coaches are already booked from Birmingham – including from the trades council and the Unite, Unison and CWU unions.
Students are also getting involved and should be pushing for student unions to help fund transport now that the NUS has officially backed the protest.
Rob Owen from the NUS national executive told Socialist Worker, “Campaigning for social justice and against climate change are central issues to the student movement.
“It’s only right that our national union supports the Put People First demonstration and encourages students to join with workers at a time when the recession is affecting us all.”
Many NGOs have student societies on campuses and students are organising to bring these groups together and build the protest.
This demonstration is a real opportunity to tell world leaders what ordinary people want and how the government should act.
But the message that comes out of it will depend on how widely the day is built.
The fight for jobs and global justice and against climate change are linked, and it is in the interests of all working class people to mobilise to tell the G20 that we want a different kind of world.
For further information and transport details, and to download publicity for the protest, go to » www.putpeoplefirst.org.uk