Up to 10,000 teachers, pupils and campaigners poured onto the streets of Glasgow to protest against cuts in education on Saturday.
People travelled from across Scotland to attend the demonstration called by the EIS union. It united under the slogan “Why should our children pay?”
Campaigns to stop closures and those involved in anti-cuts groups brought their homemade banners as the march, led by huge contingents of teachers, snaked through the city centre.
A teacher from Renfrewshire explained why she was on the march. “Over the last few years school budgets have been consistently trimmed, resulting in fewer permanent teachers, classroom assistants, and a rise in unemployment among newly qualified teachers.
“Next year we will have almost £1 million cut from our council’s education budget.”
“The attacks must be met with resistance and solidarity. We didn’t cause this mess and our children shouldn’t be paying the price.”
One college lecturer said, “The politicians are saying we must pay for the cuts. But why should we have to pay?
“The banks are still handing out obscene bonuses and those in education shouldn’t have to pay for bankers greed.”
The march was a coming together of everyone fighting back against cuts to education.
Teachers, parents, local government workers and service users, as well as the Unison union campaign Defend Glasgow Services, took their anger to the streets.
Glasgow is also facing deep cuts in community facilities, with no back up being provided by the council.
One community worker who was on the march said, “The city council has passed a budget that will see the closure of 12 community facilities across the country.
“There will also be cuts to the grants for voluntary organisation and community
groups. All this at a time when there’s money for a war in Afghanistan that people don’t want.”
Others who attended the march had been involved in previous battles.
A parent from the Wynford Community who was involved in campaigning against school closures said, “It is ridiculous in a time of recession that the first services to be cut are education, public services and recreational facilities.
“I would ask all parents and families to support their teachers and support staff as it is quite apparent that the Glasgow Labour council most certainly won’t.
“In schools resources are so low that many teachers have to provide their own pencils and paper. The situation has already reached crisis point.”
If we are to win we need to be united in our campaigns. Teachers and service users together have the power to ensure that we don’t pay for the crisis.
As Jaqui McGarvey and Gilian Rowan from Caitbridge college told Socialist Worker, “The march inspired a feeling of unity and belief that anything is possible driven by the power of the people.”