Socialist Worker

Protests at budget axe across Britain

Issue No. 2207

Protesting in Glasgow  (Pic: Duncan Brown)

Protesting in Glasgow (Pic: Duncan Brown)


Thousands of trade unionists, anti-cuts campaigners, students and pensioners protested across Britain on Tuesday against the Tories’ budget cuts.

Around 400 people came out in Sheffield, bringing together the main trade unions in the city. The Labour Party and Right to Work supported the demonstration.

Ben Morris, the NUT union membership secretary, said, “If we fight together we can beat this weak and nasty government.We need to take inspiration from the fightback in Greece and Spain.”

Some 250 people marched through central Manchester against the cuts. “It is the broadest representation of trade unionists on a protest in the city for nearly a decade,” said one protester.

In Birmingham, over 200 people gathered to vent their rage against the cuts. Geoff Dexter helped to organise the protest. He told Socialist Worker, “People are very angry—at the cuts to public services, the rise in VAT and the rich being able to make rules for themselves.”

There was determined opposition to the cuts and a thirst for unity across the working class.

Over 100 people protested outside Liverpool town hall against the cuts.

Dave Bridge, a social worker and Unison union member, told Socialist Worker, “The demonstration was a huge success and a kick-start to action in the city. It was great to have key figures from each of the big unions together.

“Lots of people signed up to Right to Work and pledged to build for the demonstration in Birmingham outside the Tory party conference in October.

“We are going to have a meeting to organise future action.”

Pete Ramand said, “Lots of young people and pensions came to our 220-strong protest in Edinburgh. It was very diverse and there was a mood to fight back.”

Developing

Building Right to Work locally is vital to developing the networks of trade unionists and campaigners to fight the cuts.

Two hundred people gathered in Brighton, with speakers from an unemployed workers’ campaign, the lecturers’ UCU union, the Green Party, the GMB union, and Tom Wills, president of the Sussex university student union.

Simon Englert told Socialist Worker, “The mood is really militant, people are talking about class war and making the rich pay for the crisis.

“We’re organising a Right to Work meeting on Thursday about organising workers in light of the attacks on call centre staff in Brighton.”

John Shemeld said, “Both local news programmes in Nottingham showed live footage of the budget protest on Tuesday.

“Two hundred people joined the demonstration, which was supported by the trades council.

“This lays the basis for future battles in the city, and Right to Work and the trades council are holding a joint meeting in mid-July.”

Around 200 people protested in Bristol. Over 90 people protested in Cardiff. Representatives of many key unions spoke to the crowd including Unison, CWU, NUT, NUJ and PCS unions.

Ken Smith from the NUJ said, “This isn’t just a budget for the rich, it’s a budget for the filthy rich by the filthy rich. Me and my family are going to be £3,000 a year worse off.”

Teachers at St Aloysius school in Islington, north London, struck on Tuesday morning to demand safe working conditions while contractors Balfour Beatty are refurbishing their workplace.

Over 200 people rallied against the cuts in Glasgow. A group of students and lecturers from Stow College who are fighting closure came along.

The Defend Whittington Hospital campaign continued its fight after winning the campaign against the closure of the A&E department.

Up to 75 people—including nurses and health workers—joined their lunchtime protest against further health cuts planned across the NHS in north London.

In central London activists held a protest outside Downing Street before George Osborne announced the Budget.

One protester dressed as a fat cat, and another as an executioner wielding his axe at the public sector.

Pensioner Ann Vinall told Socialist Worker, “If the banks can afford to go on paying their top staff millions in bonuses, then they can afford to pay us back rather than implement public sector cuts.”

Build the Right to work campaign locally

Get motions passed in your trade union and student union to support Right To Work.

Join the protest outside Tory party conference 3 October, Birmingham

For more information go to » www.righttowork.org.uk


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