Socialist Worker

Union strength

Issue No. 1820

SATURDAY'S demonstration was a sea of placards and banners, brought from every corner of Britain. At the heart of the demonstration was a major mobilisation of trade unionists. Black, white and Asian workers, men and women, young and old proudly marched together behind their trade union banners.

It was impossible to get a full picture of which banners were there. The size of the demonstration meant that it split into several different routes. But from just one point on the official route, opposite Downing Street, Socialist Worker reporters saw hundreds of union banners.

Many unions sent their national banners. We spotted the post and telecoms CWU union, the firefighters' FBU, the train drivers' Aslef, the journalists' NUJ, the civil servants' PCS, the print workers' GPMU, the TSSA rail workers' and the Unifi bank and finance workers' union banners.

The Unison public sector workers' union was there in strength with dozens of banners brought by health workers, council workers and education workers. Health workers from Salford came early in the march, as did education workers from London's Metropolitan University and council workers from the West Midlands.

Almost three hours later, as the march still flowed past Downing Street, we spotted the Rhondda Cynon Taff council Unison banner from South Wales, Edinburgh council workers' Unison and several different banners from Plymouth council Unison.

The NUT teachers' union was also represented throughout the march. Ealing NUT from west London was near the front. Further back was the NUT from Ipswich and from north Somerset among others.

We heard reports from another strand of the demonstration of banners from postal workers' CWU branches around the country and of RMT rail and civil servants' PCS branches.

TGWU transport and general union banners were there. We spotted the TGWU branch representing Sheffield bus workers, as well as TGWU banners from Hull, Plymouth and the south west, and Kilburn in London. The MSF technical union had banners from Leicecstershire and many other places, and the college lecturers' Natfhe union from a host of colleges.

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Sat 5 Oct 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1820
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