Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has addressed the TUC rally in London—and won cheers when he called for a general strike.
“We won’t get what we want simply by asking,” he said. “There was a motion at the TUC to consult on a general strike.
“We were asked to look at the practicalities and start a consultation. Well let’s start the consultation today – are you prepared to strike?”
The crowd in Hyde Park responded with huge cheering and blaring of vuvuzela horns.
McCluskey went on, “Let’s have a vote.” The crowd put their hands up. He concluded, “I think that’s carried.”
The rally is still going on in Hyde Park. Newly elected TUC president Lesley Mercer and Toni Pearce, vice president of the NUS, have addressed the crowd.
“We want a future that works, not just for the few but for everyone,” said Lesley Mercer.
Toni Pearce said she was “proud” to stand with so many thousands of people against the cuts. “We really are in it together,” she added. “We won’t accept this miserable vision of our future. Join us when students march next month.”
The rally is being compered by James Smith, the actor who plays Glenn Cullen in the satirical political comedy The Thick Of It. Many have likened the recent chaos of the government to an episode of the show.
James thanked protesters for joining the rally and said the corporations behind the crisis should “pay their fair share”.
Read more of our 20 October coverage