Some 2,000 trade unionists and their families turned out from picket lines across Aberdeen to march down Union Street in a massive show of unity and determination to fight for all workers’ pensions rights.
Large numbers of school children joined in, as all but two primary and secondary schools in the north east of Scotland were closed by the strike.
“As school students we’ve got to show that the next generation of workers won’t just stand by when people are getting fucked over about pensions,” said Ellon Academy student Sam Beaton.
Picket lines across the city were also strong. Andy, a 65 year old member of the GMB, picketed the Kittybrewster depot where refuse collectors and other manual workers are based.
He said, “The government may want to make us an offer, we don’t want an offer. We want them to put our pensions back on the table and get their hands off them.”
My wee boy and I attended the biggest Dundee picket of the day – joining 50 strikers at the Dundee city council’s contracts services depot (DCS).
When the director of DCS drove through the picket line, shouts of “scab” and “weasel” filled the air. Only one other manager drove through the picket line. Other managers didn’t cross and drove away.
We also went to another striking depot, Tayside Contracts, to show our support.
We managed to turn away postal workers, chanting, “We support your battle with the government, support ours!”
About 2,000 protesters gathered and marched into the city centre. The loudest chant on the march was “fund pensions, stop the war”.
Liz Cushnie, Unison steward, DCS, and wee John, two years old
Glasgow was effectively shut down for the day in a huge display of solidarity.
Up to 10,000 people attended a demonstration and strike rally in the city. All primary schools and nurseries were shut, as were at least three colleges. Workers at the Glasgow Caledonian University managed get the whole university shut down on health and safety grounds.
Charlie Cochrane, a Ucatt union convenor, who joined a 40-strong picket of manual workers at the Darnick Street depot, said, “The pension scheme was one of the secure things about working for local government. This strike is about young people’s futures.”
Over 10,000 local government workers came out on strike in Edinburgh with many more in the surrounding areas of East, West and Mid Lothian.
Picket lines were well attended and fairly well respected.
Over 2,000 trade unionists, some from as far afield as Falkirk and Kirkcaldy, marched through the city centre to a rally in Princes Street Gardens.
Speakers from three trade unions and the Scottish TUC pledged that the fight would go on.