Socialist Worker

London meeting rallies the resistance to cuts

Issue No. 2219

Some 150 people packed into a Right to Work meeting in London on Thursday of last week.

Speakers included Ian Leahair from the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) and Steve Hedley from the RMT rail union—both of whom are involved in fierce battles against cuts.

The meeting sent out a powerful call for unity and solidarity between workers facing the cuts.

“Without firefighters the way they are today, people will die, make no mistake,” said Ian Leahair, who is FBU executive member for London.

“We will not apologise for taking industrial action. Firefighters are there in your hour of need, please be there in ours.”

“Solidarity is the weapon of our class—we must use it,” added Mark Bergfeld from the NUS executive. The NUS has now backed the demo.

Speakers from the floor included lecturers, council workers, students and pensioners.

Activists from Camden Unison spoke about the inspiring workplace meetings that are taking place against local cuts.

One rep said, “We are using Unison’s alternative budget to win the idea that cutting public services is not the only option.

“But we are also arguing that we need unity between rank and file workers.”

Sandy Nichol, branch secretary of Soas Unison, thanked the RMT for an inspirational strike in London saying, “the strike shows the power of workers when we fight”.

“150,000 students are being refused access to higher education,” he continued.

“Lives are literally being destroyed and devastated by the cuts.

“That is why we need to build the Right to Work campaign and the 3 October demo—to link our struggles and to build the biggest united campaign possible.”

Over 40 areas have now booked transport to the demonstration in Birmingham.

Activists from across Britain are holding meetings, local protests and activities to fight the cuts and build the protest.

“On 3 October we can see one of two things—either smug Tories making speeches unopposed or thousands of trade unionists, students, pensioners and asylum seekers marching against the cuts”, said Michael Bradley from the Right to Work steering committee.

In every workplace and community people will gain confidence from seeing others standing together and resisting.

The protest on 3 October can lay down a marker for the battles to come. It is vital that it is as big as possible.

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