Freddie Ralphs is a GMB union senior transport steward at Asda Distribution. He told Socialist Worker, “We must march to show we’re against the government and everything that’s happening.
“It’s about the bedroom tax, reshaping the benefits system and attacks on the NHS. We can’t let them walk all over us.”
Striking Hovis workers from Wigan are also gearing up to join the demonstration to take on the Tories in Manchester.
One striker who’s worked at Hovis for 16 years explained that he’d never been on strike before.
“We’re saying no to zero-hour contracts—we want permanent jobs for everyone,” he said.
“I’m going to Manchester for the march and I’m going to get all my workmates to come.”
The strikers are in the Bfawu union. “We’ve got to take our members from all over the country,” another striker said.
“People should come because of what’s happening in our factory—zero-hour contracts—it’s what they want to enforce on everyone.”
Dave Halligan is a former resident social worker who now cares for his 82 year old mother.
Now he is being hit by the bedroom tax.
And he is furious because he needed a ground floor flat when he was ill—but the housing association didn’t build one bedroom flats.
Dave said, “We’re human beings not numbers to be pushed around in a ledger.
“The NHS was set up for everyone—it’s our basic right to have health. But this government is purposely setting people against each other.
“Everyone in work, on benefits or who has ever used the NHS should come on the demo. If you don’t need it now, you will one day.”
Suzy Franklin, branch secretary of Plymouth Unison, has organised a coach to go up to Manchester.
She said, “It’s going well, people I don’t know are coming to me through social media for tickets.
“The trades council is coming on board too and the coach is open to all unions and their families. We’re going to have a great day.
“Its outrageous what’s been done here. Since 2011 everything in the NHS outside of Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital has been privatised.
Some staff don’t even know that they work for a private company.”
The Tories are weak and in disarray. The march in Manchester can focus all the anger at their policies and raise the confidence of everyone who wants to fight back.
As Suzy put it, “We need to stop them before they take the lot.
The unions need to do more over the NHS—and we need to get the anger out there.”