Socialist Worker

26 March: we can beat the Tories

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2236

Council workers in Southampton took to the streets last week in an upbeat protest against cuts  (Pic © Smallman )

Council workers in Southampton took to the streets last week in an upbeat protest against cuts (Pic © Guy Smallman)

The TUC is calling for a quarter of a million trade unionists to take to the streets of London and march against the government’s brutal cuts on Saturday 26 March.

Dozens of trains and hundreds of coaches are already booked from across Britain for the protest.

They are coming from Scotland, Newcastle, Carlisle, York, Andover, Benfleet and Leigh-on-Sea—and the list grows every day.

In the north west of England alone, the NUT union has booked three trains for teachers and their families—and other unions across the region are doing the same.

“I am sending out a letter to 1,500 teachers,” Barry Conway, the secretary of Bolton NUT, told Socialist Worker.

“The trains will be free to members and their families. We want everyone there.

“We have to be audacious—think big. If you hold any union position, you should be spending every resource booking transport and working tirelessly to get members there.

“The size of the protest has to match the challenge we face.”

Sally Kincaid, divisional secretary of Wakefield and District NUT, says people are excited about the demonstration.

“An Usdaw union rep who used to work in the mines came to a Wakefield trades council meeting and said that ex-miners are talking about coming on the protest,” she told Socialist Worker.


 “They are furious that the Tories, who destroyed their jobs and livelihoods in the first place, are back in power and making vicious cuts again.

“They want us to arrange pick-ups in the pit villages.”

The NUT is sponsoring the Wakefield transport—and making it open to everyone, not just teachers.

“People are inspired by the student protests and the revolution in Tunisia,” Sally added.

“Trade unionists have been leafleting the local college—there is a feeling that this protest can reach beyond the usual activists.

“We face big battles and we are determined to fight.”

The Scottish TUC (STUC) is organising trains from across Scotland to the protest.

Dave Sherry is a housing worker at the Whiteinch & Scotstoun Housing Association, and secretary of the Unite union’s Scottish Housing branch.

He told Socialist Worker, “All trade unions have being invited to take up places on the trains.

“We’re building all out for it.

“And the STUC is inviting community groups to take up places too.”

The STUC is hosting a rally on the Friday night before people board the sleeper train to London. More trains will leave early on Saturday morning.

“People who work in housing are sick about the cuts,” Dave said.

“Rents are going up, housing benefit is being cut and jobs are being slashed. The social impact will be devastating—homelessness and suicides will keep going up.

“That is why people are up for protesting.”

People also want to do more than demonstrate, he added.

“My branch recently voted to call on the TUC and STUC to organise a one-day general strike.

“A massive demo on 26 March can help increase workers’ confidence to fight.

 “But we can’t just wait for the protest. We have to fight every attack, and defend every job and service.

“We have to be prepared to strike—and we should do so together for maximum impact.”

Every trade unionist in Britain has the green light from their union to build the protest.

Together, hundreds of thousands of workers, the unemployed and disabled people, pensioners and students can send the Tories a message—we will fight the cuts, and we will win.

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Article information

Tue 25 Jan 2011, 18:35 GMT
Issue No. 2236
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