Trade unionists took to the streets last bank holiday weekend to mark international workers’ day. Around 1,000 marched in Glasgow and over 2,000 in London.
There were over 700 people marching on Huddersfield TUC’s May Day march for the NHS. The numbers were swollen by supporters of the campaign to stop the closure of the local A&E.
June, a retired community worker, said the march was “very heartening”.
She said, “It seemed more radical and more united than previous A&E demos.”
Some places held their first May Day events for years. Notts trades council held the first May Day rally in Mansfield since the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike and drew a crowd of hundreds.
In Barnsley over 100 took part in the trades council’s march and rally—themed around “Barnsley needs a pay rise”.
As trades council secretary Dave Gibson said, “Average pay in Barnsley is 9 percent lower than the national average. Trade unionists locally are fed up with poverty pay.”
Two Durham teaching assistants (TAs) spoke at the rally in Barnsley—the first time they have spoken in public. They got a standing ovation for their powerful account of how they are fighting threatened pay cuts by the Durham Labour-led county council.
Delegations of TAs from Durham also attended events in Manchester, Lancaster and Newcastle.
Hundreds of people marched through Leeds backing the theme of Make May Day Pay Day as part of the campaign for a £10 an hour minimum wage.
The previous day some 150 trade unionists marked Workers’ Memorial Day by unveiling a new memorial with the inscription “Remember the Dead but Fight for the Living”.
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