The Unite union’s national demonstration for jobs, in Birmingham, on Saturday 16 May, is shaping up to be a major response to the government’s attempts to make workers pay for the recession.
Trade unionists at workplaces across Britain are mobilising to get a big turnout in Birmingham.
The Corus steel company has laid off thousands of workers this year. Workers from the company will be on the protest. Martin Copson, a senior shop steward in Unite at Corus steelworks in Scunthorpe, reports, “Unite have put on a coach for the demo from the steelworks here.
“This is the biggest political action organised by a union at the steelworks in my lifetime. We now have to make sure we fill the coach.”
Every Unite region has booked coaches to the demonstration and there are over 100 seats booked on a train from London.
Kathy Brooks, the East Midlands Unite organiser, told Socialist Worker, “There are coaches going to the protest from all over the region, including Northampton, Nottingham, Chester, Leicester, Lincoln, Boston, Derby and Mansfield.
“If workers from a single company can fill a coach then we will be looking to run transport from that firm. We have already had several bookings for the coaches and are expecting many more.”
It’s not just workers who are gearing up for the demonstration. Students who are worried for their future as jobs dry up also see its importance.
Pete Spencer, a student at Birmingham University, said, “Students are already being hit by the recession. We are forced into casualised, part-time jobs, which are some of the first to go in a crisis. My hours at work have been massively cut in the last few months.
“A friend of mine had to move back to her hometown as she couldn’t afford to live near university any more. She went to the job centre, which was full of university graduates looking for jobs.
“We are told that a university education will secure us a decent job and future, but that is no longer the case. We will come out of university with a huge debt and facing unemployment – it’s a big slap in the face.
“Lots of different groups on campus are mobilising for the 16 May demonstration – there’ll be a big student turnout.”
The Unite union was still negotiating with police to get the best possible route for the demonstration as Socialist Worker went to press.
For details of transport to the demonstration go to » www.unitetheunion.com