Trade unionists are taking the fight against racism and the far right into workplaces across Britain.
A planned day of action on Monday comes ahead of the Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) national demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on Saturday.
The FBU firefighters’ union is one of the unions mobilising for a delegation on the demonstration. Riccardo la Torre, FBU Eastern regional secretary, told Socialist Worker that it would “very publicly show that we're against the far right”.
“We'll be marching with the new FBU fire engine on the day,” he said. “These far right groups are spreading the message that they speak for the working class and that will be a very visible rejection of it.”
Many unions have been holding meetings with their reps and members in the run-up to the demonstration.
Dave Ward, CWU communication workers union general secretary, has urged members to join the demonstrations. “It is really important that you understand why your union wants a big turnout on 16 March,” he said.
“What we’re seeing in this country is people creating division among workers, among people from different backgrounds.
“We believe in all workers, wherever you’re from, you’re part of the CWU.
“We fight for all workers, we fight for workers from all backgrounds, because those are our trade union values.”
At London Stansted Airport, Royal Mail workers in the CWU union held a group photo publicising the demonstration. It was a show of unity with workers with origins in Ghana, Pakistan, Jamaica, Poland, Sri Lanka and Spain taking part.
CWU union officers and reps have been building the demonstration at other meetings and workplaces.
A big turnout on the SUTR demonstrations can give confidence to people to take on racist arguments in campuses, workplaces and local areas.
Riccardo said, “Some members are exposed to mainstream media messages and get misled. I say as firefighters we have stood on a lot of picket lines and then it’s certainly not migrants and refugees who aren’t on our side.”
“It’s not working class people from other parts of the world who are the problem, it’s bosses and politicians.”
SUTR local groups have also been holding public meetings to build support for the demonstrations.
The group in Newham held a rally on the theme of International Women’s Day last Friday. Speakers included the east London borough’s mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, NEU education union national officer Louise Regan and Nahella Ashraf from SUTR.
Join the demonstrations next Saturday, 16 March
- London, assemble 12 noon, Park Lane
- Glasgow, assemble 11am, George Square
- Cardiff, assemble 11am, Gorsedd Gardens Road, CF10 3ND
- For demonstrations outside Britain go here