Socialist Worker

Trade unionists say, 'We must take to the streets to show our anger'

Issue No. 2366

People across Britain are gearing up to demonstrate outside the Tory party conference to defend the NHS. Workers and campaigners spoke to Socialist Worker about why it’s important for everyone to be

out on Sunday 29 September.

Matt Proom is a social worker and steward in South Gloucestershire Unison. “Our union branch has booked a coach,” he said. 

“I’m not just angry about the NHS and the local authority cuts. The Tories and Liberal Democrats are changing society for the worse. 

“We have to take to the streets to show how angry and frustrated we are that they keep getting away with it.

“Union leaders could do a lot more than a demo. We need to get coordinated strikes happening. 

“Our members are saying, ‘We’ve got pay cuts and can’t pay the rent.’ Our workloads are going up because things are getting tough. Poverty is hitting every area of social care. 

“Businesses are failing and people can’t pay their mortgages. A lot of people are turning to alcohol and drugs.”

Charlene is a worker and GMB member at a hospital in Plymouth. She told Socialist Worker, “I’m angry about the austerity that they expect us to swallow. I’m also angry at the demonisation of people on benefits.

 “The Tories continue to use statistics they’ve been told are inaccurate. It’s very divisive. If we’re all angry at each other then we won’t blame Tories. It’s a smokescreen and an insult to our intelligence.

“We only got a 1 percent pay increase. Then there’s inflation and they’re finding new ways to tax people.

 “I’m a full time worker with a council house, but I’m in debt. 

“In the GMB office we’re speaking to members about a host of things. We need some sort of large scale action.”

Bedroom tax activists are among those who are organising transport for 29 September demonstration. “We only made the decision a week ago, and we’ve already got 25 people booked.” Linda Charnock, of Bolton Against the Bedroom Tax, told Socialist Worker. 

“People are angry as well as frustrated,” she said. “After four months of the bedroom tax people are having to choose between paying it and doing the shopping.

“But having a campaign has given people an alternative—and now that campaign is going all out for the September demo.

“The bedroom tax can be overturned,” said Linda. “People can see others are not paying the tax and that gives them confidence.

“We’re standing together. People know that if it comes to court dates or evictions we’ll stand with them.

“That’s the message we’re taking to the Tories in Manchester.”

PCS pledges funds for transport

The pcs union has set aside £25,000 to help fund transport for the demonstration on Sunday 29 September.

The union is consulting its members over the next steps in fighting austerity. Sue Bond, a member of the union’s national executive, spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity.

“The PCS consultations are building around the demo on 29 September,” she said. “Many members are really, really keen to go. 

“So many people are angry about what’s been done by this government. Building for the demonstration is part of building the fightback. 

“When there’s no action, confidence can subside. If we don’t do something, the Tories will keep coming back for more. However when we’re united, we can win.”

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Tue 13 Aug 2013, 16:11 BST
Issue No. 2366
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