Socialist Worker


Issue No. 1796

IF YOU want to protest against privatisation and war, be on the streets of London on Wednesday 1 May. May Day protests will unite trade unionists and anti-capitalists with the anti-war movement that has mobilised thousands on huge demos.

Roger Sutton is the organiser of the May Day committee. He told Socialist Worker, 'We are getting widespread support. A lot of issues seem to be coming together on May Day. There is privatisation and anti-capitalism, but there is also the attempt to impose a new world order. So now we are getting backing from the anti-war movement and pro-Palestinian groups. We are getting interest from groups campaigning for more aid and against Third World debt. We always get formal support from unions and some left wing Labour MPs. Growing numbers of union members are taking up the appeal from Tony Benn and Mark Serwotka, general secretary elect of the civil servants' PCS union, to 'Make May Day our day'.'

Support is particularly strong among public sector unions in London. Rahul Patel is the acting branch secretary of the Unison union in Westminster council. He told Socialist Worker the council gave the workforce an hour off work to go to the Queen Mother's funeral.

'Many workers feel it is much more important to take time off to protest against privatisation. There is an atmosphere building up about having a united demo. 'We are hoping for a good delegation of council workers on the march.'

Unjum Mirza is a health and safety rep for the RMT rail workers' union on London Underground. His RMT branch in Stratford, east London, is backing the march and sending its union banner. Unjum told Socialist Worker that a good delegation of workers from his station were planning to demonstrate on May Day:

'There is a renewed confidence after Bob Crow was elected general secretary of our union. And anger is brewing over our 2 percent pay offer, so people feel it is worth joining the march.'

It is not just station staff on the underground who are building the May Day protests.

The London District Council of the rail workers' Aslef union has sent leaflets advertising the march to all its branches on the underground. That is around 2,000 train drivers. Finn Brennan is an Aslef Trains Council rep. He told Socialist Worker, 'Privatisation is a key issue, but there are many reasons why people in our union think the march is a good idea and want to support it.'

Labour MP John McDonnell is addressing a press conference with representatives of Globalise Resistance and South East Region TUC to publicise the march. In the run-up to May Day campaigners are planning to leaflet major workplaces. They are also arguing for people to organise delegations from their Socialist Alliance groups, tenants organisations and other campaigns.

Coaches are coming from Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and other cities to London on 1 May. Whether it's the state of the NHS, the sell-off of council housing, the threat of war on Iraq or the treatment of the Palestinians, there are hundreds of reasons to take time off work and join the May Day march.

Join this march Assemble 12 noon, Wednesday 1 May, Clerkenwell Green, London (Farringdon station/tube). March to Trafalgar Square

Protests old and new

THE DEPTH of feeling among trade unionists and activists across Britain is breathing new life into traditional May Day protests. The Glasgow May Day Collective unites peace and environmental campaigners with socialists and anarchists.

It is planning to march on symbols of corporate greed in the city, backed by groups such as Globalise Resistance.

On Sunday 5 May the Glasgow Trades Council march is due to take place. Last year's May Day march was called in defence of refugees and attracted some 2,000 people.

Globalise Resistance is helping people to organise fundraising so they can join the May Day march through London.

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Sat 20 Apr 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1796
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