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20 reasons to march on 20 October

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Help build for the 20 October TUC demonstration against austerity with our poster centre spread
Issue 2323
20 reasons to march on 20 October

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1. A million young people on the dole

Over a million 16 to 24 year olds are unemployed—more than one in five. Overall unemployment is 2.6 million. These are rates not seen since the early 1990s.

2. 600 jobs lost everyday

Every day since the Tory coalition took over, 625 public sector jobs have disappeared, according to the Unison union. That’s one job every two minutes and 18 seconds.

3. They’re making it easier to sack you

Tory venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft is pushing “fire at will” plans that would let bosses sack you on the spot. The Lib Dems claim they’ve stopped it—but the Tories are still keen.

4. Three food banks open each week

In a sign of how poverty is growing under the coalition, the Trussell Trust charity says it is opening three food banks every week. Last year they fed 130,000 hungry people.

5. Clegg’s £9,000 student fees

No matter how sorry he says he is, Nick Clegg’s broken promise tripled the cost of university at a stroke. Applications in England fell by 50,000.

6. Free schools and academies

Tory “free schools” are a rebranding of academies. Both take education out of local control and hand it over to carpet magnates and used car dealers.

7. The NHS is being sold off to Virgin & co

The government’s “reforms” mean the end of the health service as we know it. It is being contracted out piece by piece. Virgin has signed a £500 million deal in Surrey alone.

8. Disability benefit cuts kill

Over 1,000 people have died after government contractor Atos found them “fit for work”—an average of 32 every week. Others have committed suicide.

9. More than 150 libraries closed

Small branch and mobile libraries in remote locations have been the hardest hit. Librarians’ group CILIP predicts 600 could be shut by 2014.

10. Pay and pensions cut

Millions of workers are suffering as the pay freeze continues. Not to mention the Tories cutting pensions, raising contribution rates and making us all work longer.

11. By toffs for toffs

Two thirds of the cabinet are millionaires—there are more millionaires in the cabinet than women. And the same number went to Oxford or Cambridge.

12. Rich get tax cuts

For these rich Tories it’s natural to want to cut the top rate of tax from 50 percent to 45 percent. At a stroke it more than handed all the Tories’ donors their money back.

13. They still dodge £120 billion tax

That’s an estimate for the total tax avoided, evaded and uncollected each year. Topshop owner Philip Green has been accused of sending £1.2 billion off to Monaco to avoid tax.

14. The rich are still coining it in

The wealth of the 1,000 richest people in Britain soared by £18?billion last year, according to the Sunday Times. Their fortunes now total £414 billion.

15. Bankers are let off the hook

The Libor interest-rate rigging scandal is just the latest to expose the crimes of the banks and their role in the financial crisis. Yet not one banker is in jail as a result.

16. They’re only 20 percent into the cuts

There’s a lot further to go in the battle against the cuts. The Tories will try to close more hospitals and take away many more benefits.

17. Chance to build networks

Organising transport and leafleting for the protest is vital to make it huge. It’s also an opportunity to meet activists in your workplace. They will be important in future struggles.

18. A big march will put the pressure on for strikes

The TUC demonstration, if it’s massive, can be a brilliant springboard for strikes. It has the potential to raise working class confidence—and pile the pressure on the union leaders.

19. Bring Greek and Spanish spirit of resistance here

Across Europe we’ve seen mass marches and movements against austerity. Britain is no different—it can happen here too.

20. We can force a U-turn

The coalition has already done dozens of U-turns—the working class has the power to force it into the biggest one of all. That would open the door to bringing them down for good.

Activists and trade unionists speak out

Mark Serwotka, PCS civil service union

On 20 October, what I’ll be saying in Hyde Park is we’ve got to follow this up with a strike as soon as possible. 30 November last year was the biggest strike in Britain since 1926, with 29 unions.

If we’d had another strike in January we would have rocked the government. The ease with which the majority of the unions were able to pull out of that strike with very little was breathtaking. We can’t have that happening again.

Having joint strikes was the strongest thing we’ve ever done. But the weakness of that is you are then affected by the weakest who want to hold you back. We stand for coordinated action.

But we’re also having a debate among our activists about what we can do on our own and lead by example. If we follow 20 October with industrial action across our movement, it shows the government the opposition is on a different level.

Janet Maiden, Nurse and Unison union member (pc)

The demo is about reminding our union leaders that we actually voted to keep fighting over pensions. Stopping all these attacks isn’t academic, it’s real life.

A massive demonstration can show not just the Tories, but Labour and our union leaders too, that we’re not accepting this austerity. It’s a chance to show we want to escalate the fightback.

Darius, Doncaster bin worker

I’ll be marching to show that we need solidarity between workers. It’s getting worse from cuts to job losses—something has to be done.

This demonstration will be too big to ignore. Everyone counts. When you fight, it’s not just for yourself—it shows everyone else what it’s possible to do.

Catherine West, Labour leader of Islington council

20 October will be a brilliant day to show how many people oppose the government. We have to stand up for what we believe in and fight for a fairer society.

If we don’t, things that took years to develop, like welfare services and the NHS, will be lost. It’s important to bring everyone together and show that people are fighting for themselves as that’s very empowering.

Cliff Snaith, UCU union, London Metropolitan University

There are a lot of battles in education, and the threat of college closures. The cuts are getting close to the bone as managements accept the austerity agenda.

20 October must only be the start. After the demo there must be the immediate announcement of a clear timeline of action leading to a general strike.

Jeremy Corbyn MP

The labour movement created the welfare state. The whole point is there should be nobody homeless, nobody destitute. When we march on 20 October it is for a society that works for all. Not the rich, not the few.

But it doesn’t stop with a big march. We have to fight against benefit changes that are effectively a poll tax. It is winnable.

Claire Lyall, Unison rep (pc)

This time we have a march here in Glasgow as well as in London. It’s the same fight across Britain. We heard this week there’s going to be another 1,000 job losses in Glasgow council. We’ve already lost 3,000 people.

I was disappointed when our union leaders tried to say we should just move on from pensions after 30 November. This time it needs to be different. We need united strikes very quickly after the march.

20 October: A Future That Works TUC national demonstrations in London and Glasgow. London demo assembles at 11am on Embankment for march to rally at Hyde Park. Glasgow demo assembles at the city centre, details to be confirmed. Go to and

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