People organising locally for the TUC’s mass demonstration on 20 October talk to Julie Sherry
The TUC’s national demonstration on Saturday 20 October has the potential to put even more people on the streets than the huge 26 March protest last year. It could open up the next stage in the fightback.
Workers from different parts of Britain spoke to Socialist Worker about what they’re doing locally to organise the biggest delegations possible onto the march in London.
In Newcastle, the TUC has already booked a train. A mobilising committee initiated by Unite the Resistance brought together workers from different unions, as well as pensioners and students.
Dave Stead from Tyneview Park branch of the PCS civil service workers’ union was at the meeting. He says, “Our branch put a motion to extend the invitation for seats on the train beyond PCS members.
“We want those who maybe wouldn’t be able to go otherwise, such as pensioners, disabled activists, non-unionised workers and students. Other unions have taken up the motion as a result of the joint union mobilising meeting we had. It was a useful space to share ideas.”
Ben Morris, from the NUT teachers’ union in Sheffield, says, “The TUC is planning a train from Sheffield and another from Leeds. We need to fill these as soon as possible so we can get more transport laid on.”
Lynne Chamberlain, secretary of Greenwich & Bexley trades council in south east London, was at a local mobilising meeting.
“We discussed the bus workers’ strike last Friday and the planned teachers’ strikes,” she says. “We’re going to leaflet across the whole borough for the TUC demo, and are organising two public meetings.”
The Scottish TUC has called a separate demonstration to try and maximise the number of people on the streets on the day. A mobilising meeting in Glasgow for the Scotland demonstration had Dave Moxham, deputy general secretary of the Scottish TUC, speaking.
Dave Sherry, a Unite union branch secretary, says, “We had 30 at the meeting including teachers, council workers, electricians and some unemployed activists.
“We’ll send speakers out to workplaces and community groups to talk about the demo, and contact unions to get activists’ meetings. We’re calling a public meeting for August. We plan to get going now with street leafleting.”
Ken Muller from Islington NUT in north London says, “Last year before the 30 November strike and demo, we created a network of trade unionists.
“So we were able to reconvene a mobilising meeting last week, this time to build for October. The meeting has called a rally in September, and a day of action on the Saturday before the TUC demo.”
The NUT and NASUWT teaching unions have called for a national day of protests on Saturday 14 July. Regional demos are planned in Sheffield and Oxford.
These will be a key part of building towards the TUC demo, as well as a potential teachers’ strike in the autumn.
Unite the Resistance has called a national conference for Saturday 17 November. For details go to uniteresist.org