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Workers take action for Palestine on May Day

It was the latest day of workplace action called by Stop The War
Issue 2904
a crowd shot of workers at City and Islington college in north London illustrating an article about Workers Palestine action on May Day

Education workers at City and Islington in north London (Picture: Sean Vernell)

Workers took action for Palestine across Britain on Wednesday, International Workers’ Day. The day of action was called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the Stop The War (STW) and others.

In Oxford, well over 300 students marched from their campus to the town hall. They joined the rally of UCU, NEU and CWU union members, where protesters listened to speeches and shouted chants together. The Oxford university UCU union and Oxfordshire NEU union banners were displayed prominently. 

In Bradford, West Yorkshire, health workers, college workers and school students took part in the action.

Around a dozen workers in Bradford College held a lunchtime protest with their UCU union banner, chanted and waved flags. At Lynfield Mount Hospital, some 9 members of the GMB union protested.   

Parents at 15 schools collected their children early and protested with other parents and students outside each schools’ gates. At most of the schools at least 50 students protested in an inspiring show of solidarity with Palestine. 

Students held placards, homemade banners, waved flags and some even made speeches to their schoolmates.

Over 100 people joined a protest at Kings College Hospital, south London. And around 40 people attended a solidarity protest outside St George’s hospital in Tooting, south London. Health workers from the hospital were joined by activists from both the NEU and UCU unions.

At Chelwood Nursery School in south east London, all 12 workers who were onsite came together in the morning to send a message to the Tory government. The NEU and Unison union members chanted, “Stop arming Israel, stop the genocide, stop killing children.” 

A small delegation from Swanlea school joined a 150-strong rally at the Tower Hamlets town hall in Whitechapel, east London. It was organised by the Unison union, with representatives from the Royal London and Mile End hospitals, the charity Praxis for migrants and refugees and PCS union members.

Some 25 staff members from Arbor Square New College in Tower Hamlets organised a solidarity protest. They waved flags, chanted slogans and held a banner that read, “Israel, the UK, USA—guilty of genocide. Stop bombing Gaza—Stop killing babies. Ceasefire now.” 

Over 30 teachers and other staff members from New City College in Poplar, east London, took a solidarity photo during their lunchtime. Workers held signs that read, “Stop bombing Gaza—ceasefire!”

At Homerton hospital in Hackney, east London, around 20 health workers joined a solidarity photo at lunchtime. The workers held signs that read, “NHS workers say permanent ceasefire now.” 

Meanwhile, some eight Unison members held a lunchtime protest outside their workplace, Swinton Civic Centre in Salford, Greater Manchester. 

Around 30 people attended a Poetry for Palestine event at Trafford Town Hall. It was organised by two council workers, and several workers joined in their lunch break, along with students from the local college.

Around 120 people joined a rally in St Peter’s Square, central Manchester. John Nicholson from Greater Manchester Friends of Palestine spoke about “turning protests into action” to shut down arms factories.

Mohammed Shafiq from the PCS union highlighted the “diversity of the movement for Palestine” as a vital sign of its strength. He also called out politicians who “defend the indefensible, they take to banning our protests because their agenda has failed”.  

The rally then marched from the city centre to the university campuses to show support for the pro-Palestine students at the University of Manchester.

Health Workers For Palestine organised a lunchtime rally at Manchester Royal infirmary which was attended by 40 health workers. Doctors, nurses, cleaners and porters came together to protest the ongoing genocide of Palestinians.

Meanwhile, around 60 people joined a May Day rally. Protesters made powerful speeches about international workers solidarity, anti-imperialism and against the Rwanda deportations. Council workers from the civic offices in Portsmouth also supported the event. 

At least 60 Palestine activists assembled for a lunchtime protest at Hove town hall. Protesters listened to speeches from activists from STW and PCS. And in Hastings over 60 people joined a May Day action.

Around 25 Camden Unison union members in north London joined solidarity photos. Workers stood behind their union banner and held placards calling for a ceasefire now and to stop British arms sales to Israel. 

Seven members of Hammersmith and Fulham Unison in west London held a protest calling for an immediate ceasefire. And eight Unison members in Wigan take part in a solidarity photo organised by the local trades council.  

Around 20 people joined a rally in Lewisham, south east London organised by Health Workers For Palestine. Five BMA union members, other health workers from two south east London NHS trusts and members of the local trades council were present. 

Hundreds of students and UCU members marched through Leeds calling for a ceasefire and an end to the apartheid state of Israel. Leeds students have started an occupation on the university campus inspired by the movement in the US.  

Around 35 UCU members at City and Islington College, north London, held a lively protest and took a solidarity photo holding placards and the local union banner. 

UCU members across Liverpool universities organised a protest outside the University of Liverpool’s School of Medicine. This action was supported by around 60 students, health workers, community activists, UCU and FBU union members. 

At least 15 striking EIS-Fela union members from Edinburgh college protested in solidarity with Palestine at Bute house, the official residence of the first minister of Scotland.

Around 30 people rallied outside the Scottish Government building at Victoria Quay in Edinburgh. Called by two PCS branches, it involved members of Unite, EIS and UCU. A statement from the Gaza Solidarity Camp, currently based outside the Scottish Parliament was read out.

Over 20 NEU education union members at Mayfield School, east London, held a lunchtime protest calling for a ceasefire. At Clapton Girls’ Academy also in Hackney, east London, ten members of staff held up signs that said, “Children in Gaza need life-saving support—ceasefire now.” 

Nearly ten education workers at a school in Hackney, north London also held a protest, with a banner saying, “Educators for a free Palestine.”

Ten education workers at Knavesmire Primary School, York, stood outside of the school, with signs saying, “Fund schools, not genocide”.

And ten UCU members at Merton College in south London held a protest outside their workplace to show May Day solidarity with Gazans and call for a permanent ceasefire. Some 12 UCU members at Imperial College in west London took a solidarity photo to mark the day of action.

Thanks to everyone who sent reports

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