Socialist Worker

Protest 3 October: Activists unite to take resistance to the heart of government

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2216

Trade union backing for the Right to Work protest at the Tory Party conference is growing.

Around 40 coaches are already booked to take people to Birmingham on 3 October from towns and cities across Britain.

During the last week:

  • A 65-strong TUC meeting in Plymouth voted unanimously to set up a Plymouth Right to Work branch (see column).
  • Unison Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust and Rotherham Hospital Unison branches voted unanimously to back the demonstration. The Mid Yorkshire branch affiliated to the Right to Work Campaign.
  • Some 100 people gathered in Stoke-on-Trent at a meeting called by North Staffordshire Trades Union Council (NSTUC) to support the protest on 3 October and launch an anti-cuts campaign.
  • Over 30 people attended a Right to Work organising meeting in Norwich addressed by FBU and Unison members.

There is clearly potential to win support for the protest among wide layers of people.

Right to Work in Northern Ireland has produced a letter calling on activists to join the protest.

It includes signatories from across nine different trade unions. Activists in Belfast have booked a coach for the demonstration.

In South Yorkshire, Rotherham Hospital Unison, Sheffield Trades Council, Sheffield District Labour Party, Sheffield NUT, PCS DWP Head Office Branch, Sheffield University UCU, GMB S38 Branch, South Yorkshire NUJ, South Yorkshire FBU, Sheffield Hallam University Unison, Westfield and Halfway TARA and the Sheffield Green Party are all backing the demonstration.

And activists are calling more protests. In Sheffield the trades council has organised a protest at a meeting with Nick Clegg in Sheffield Town Hall on 3 September.

There are also debates.

Labour councillor Kassem Al-Khatib was at the meeting in Stoke-on-Trent.

He said that he opposed the cuts but that there is “no point” in voting against them as it would walk into “a trap set by the government”.

He was widely criticised.

NSTUC president Jason Hill said it was vital to act quickly to stop cuts.

A member of the civil service PCS union summed up the mood of the meeting saying that David Cameron “wants his big society shoving up his arse”.

Meanwhile, a Right to Work organising meeting in Waltham Forest, north London, last week included a member of the Labour Representation Committee, local Labour activists and trade unionists.

Activists are building the demonstration on 3 October and a rally on 11 September against the cuts in the town square, called by Waltham Forest trades council.

“There is a real mood for action out there,” Chris Bambery, secretary of the national Right to Work Campaign, told Socialist Worker.

“I’ve done a number of meetings across Britain and people want to see a combination of community and grass roots campaigns with trade union activity.”

The 3 October protest is an important part of building a movement that can defeat the Tories.

For information and resources go to www.righttowork.org.uk


If you have a story about an anti-cuts campaign in your area, or if you are putting on transport to the demonstration and want to tell us about it, then please get in touch.

Email reports@socialistworker.co.uk or call 020 7819 1180


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