Wednesday, 8 March 2017

International Women's Day in Reading, 8 March 2017

The RTUC banner heads the
Women's Day march through Buttermarket
Reading Trades Union Council played a leading role in organising and partaking in International Women's Day - 2017's event being possibly the most popular ever staged in the town.
The length of the march as it passed through Broad Street
The leading light in the arrangements was RTUC's vice president, Nada Al Sanjari, who organised a strong field of speakers, a band and plotted the route.
Starting at the Spanish Civil War Monument in Forbury Gardens, a procession of around 200 people - women, children and men - paraded down Broad Street, up Friar Street, and assembled outside the Town Hall on the edge of Market Place. Following music by The Retreat Singers - a Reading band founded many years ago on Women's Day - Nada introduced the speakers.
Jan Bastable (Unite/RTUC)
addresses the rally
From the RTUC, Jan Bastable spoke, also representing Unite the Union in her role as regional vice secretary and women's committee vice secretary. Jan noted that women make up more than half the members of trade union and urged as many people as possible to join trade unions to help defend rights at work and social services and the NHS in the local community. She promoted the activities of the Reading Trades Union Council and welcomed trade unionists to attend its meetings and to affiliate their branches to the RTUC.
Ray Parkes addresses the rally
Another RTUC speaker was Ray Parkes, a member of Unite Community and an activist in Reading's labour movement for 50 years. Ray commended the organisation of and attendance at the 2017 International Women's Day march, calling it the largest such event in Reading's history. Ray spoke of the strong women who have influenced his political development, from his family to such historical figures as Rosa Luxemburg and Clara Zetkin - the founder of International Women's Day. He thanked Nada for her enthusiasm and successful organising abilities and hoped the event would become an annual fixture in Reading's calendar.
Nada Al Sanjani
addresses the rally
To wind up the event, Nada spoke, giving a very personal account of her move from Iraq to the United Kingdom and the impact which British foregn policy in the Middle East has had on the local populations, especially women - splitting families, creating refugees and exiles, and of course killing vast numbers of people. Nada thanked all the speakers and the attendees and looked forward to an even larger scale gathering in a years time.

Nada winds up Reading's 2017
International Women's Day march

Monday, 6 March 2017

Reading Trades Union Council defending the NHS, London, 4 March 2017

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party
On 4 March 2017, Reading Trades Union Council joined 250,000 other protesters in London, marching to defend the NHS. Nada Al-Sanjari, Vice-President of the RTUC, had organised the production of a banner and several trades council delegates took a hand in parading it from Tavistock Square to Parliament Square. Jan Bastable and Cllr Sarah Hacker, Unite delegates to the RTUC, marched with their trade union while John Partington, Correspondence Secretary, flew a flag for the TSSA.
John McDonnell MP
Labour Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Len McCluskey, General Secretary of unite the Union

On the conclusion of the march, a host of speakers rewarded the gathered crowd with words of solidarity and inspirational calls for continued pressure on the Government to properly fund the NHS and halt the creeping privatisation of our health service. Among the speakers were Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite union, John McDonnell MP, the Labour Party’s shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party. All three speakers, leaders of the industrial and political wings of the labour movement, pledged support to NHS workers in their struggle for an improved health service, including backing strike action if the Government again placed unfair restraint on heath workers’ pay.


Nada Al-Sanjari, Vice-President of the RTUC
Cllr Sarah Hacker and Jan Bastable of Unite and RTUC

John Partington, TSSA and RTUC Correspondence Secretary

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, visits Reading, 6 March 2017
Reading trade unionists with Len McCluskey,
General Secretary of Unite the Union

The Reading Trades Union Council was out in force to greet Len McCluskey during his visit to Novotel Reading to address trade unionists during his campaign for re-election as General Secretary of the Unite union. Len spoke for half an hour before fielding questions from the audience, members of Unite and non-members alike.

Sue Stevens, Unite branch chair from Reading Buses,
introduces Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite
Jan Bastable, Cllr Sarah Hacker, Keith Jerrome, Ray Parkes and John Partington were among RTUC delegates at the event.
Ray Parkes (left) and John Partington (right) of RTUC
with Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union