Thousands join anti-government marches in Manchester & Glasgow
Thousands of trade unionists, private sector workers, youth, students and community groups marched in Manchester and Glasgow on Saturday against government cuts that are devastating public services and jobs.
An estimated 35,000 were on the Manchester march which coincided with the opening day of the Tory Party conference in the city.
Marchers brave the pouring rainSociety of Radiographers won the prize for scariest banner!
AWTW spoke to some of those on the march in the pouring rain in Glasgow to find out what they were hoping to achieve.
Andy Hogg, assistant general secretary of the Prison Officers Association in Scotland, said further actions could include refusing to be fettered by anti-union laws. His own union is banned from taking strike action.
That was “part of the Conservative’s introduction of privatisation and cuts not only in the prison service but right across the public sector”.
He added: “There has been a fundamental attack not only on our rights but on the rights of everybody in a democracy to take industrial action and take action against when they are under attack from government or employers.
“This is not just a public sector issue - it involves workers in the private sector too; the attacks are right across the board. The damage is being done to everybody as a result of the unfettered actions of capitalist financial institutions.”
Andy is clear that a political sea change is underway: “I think we are reaching a stage now where we have gone full cycle through the Thatcher and Blair years, where there was very much a sameness in politics. Now we are starting to see a coming together of common working people, across the globe, taking up where we left off after the struggles of the 60s and 70s. We had first Thatcherism, and then the Blair idea that there is a third way - there isn’t. There is still an inherent class struggle not only in this country but across the globe.”
Campaigners to Save the Accord day centre for people with learning disabilities were there
Willie Lawson, regional political secretary of CWU in Scotland said the march would give a message to the Westminster government that people are determined to defend public services all over Scotland and the UK.
There was also a message for the Scottish government that a council tax freeze only helps those in the biggest houses with the highest incomes, whilst causing local authorities to cut services and jobs.
Willie believes that Labour may have learned some lessons from its defeat, but adds: “The rhetoric from the Labour Party shows they are not on the side of the unions, and our continuing to fund them needs to be looked at. We need to consider whether we should be funding a different kind of political party or parties.
“Regarding the financial system worldwide, one thing that isn’t working now is capitalism, and we need to look at alternatives to that. We need to look at some other ways that working class people can protect their services, have a decent life and a job.”