Socialist Worker

Islington trade unionists and students march against cuts

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2232

Around 300 local trade unionists marched through Islington yesterday. They were joined by students from the London Metropolitan University occupation.

The demonstration, organised by Islington Unison and supported by Islington Hands of Our Public Services (IHOOPS), was against cuts to local jobs and services.

Protesters marched from Highbury Fields to Islington town hall chanting, 'They say cut back, we say fight back' and 'Tory scum'.

Dean Ryan, an Islington Unison rep working in Connexions, told Socialist Worker that the mood had hardened at work since the announcement of widespread cuts.

'People are angry. In my section we face huge job cuts that will destroy the service we provide,' said Dean. 'We will be reduced from 56 to 12 workers. That is why we called the protest and will be calling further action in the new year.

'Our branch passed a motion calling on Unison nationally to build a campaign of resistance to the cuts which includes national industrial action. And we will be putting forward a motion for industrial action locally at our AGM in January.'

Trade unionists from the NUT, Unite, GMB and UCU trade unions joined the protest, and the rally outside the town hall included a broad range of speakers, including the Right to Work campaign.

A huge cheer went through the crowd when students brought solidarity greetings to workers. 'We aren't just opposing education cuts,' said a student, 'we are opposed to all cuts to jobs and services. We are in solidarity with every worker taking action against the cuts.'

Katherine West, Labour leader of Islington Council, attacked the Tories for forcing through a vicious cuts programme.

Speakers welcomed the presence of the Labour Party on the protest, but a number of them said that it is vital for the Labour council to take a stand and not implement the cuts, and that it wasn't good enough to blame the Tories while sacking workers and cutting services.

Calls for a general strike, raised by a number of speakers, got the biggest round of applause. And speakers called on all workers and students to join the TUC national march against the cuts on 26 March 2011.

IHOOPS is planning further protests and actions in the new year. It is vital that Islington trade unions move towards balloting members against any attacks to jobs and conditions and keep up the pressure on the Labour Council to not implement the cuts.

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Thu 16 Dec 2010, 14:16 GMT
Issue No. 2232
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