Thursday, 8 March 2018

RTUC at Reading's International Women's Day March and Rally

Nada Al-Sanjari (second left, NEU) leads the march
On 8 March 2018, the Reading Trades Union Council supported Nada Al-Sanjari's 'Walk with Women', a march and rally through Reading to mark International Women's Day. Nada, the Vice-President of the RTUC and a delegate from the NEU, organised the successful women's day event in 2017 and the turnout this year was equally successful.

Terrie Withers (left, UNISON) and Sue Taylor (right, PCS) on the march
The march began at 17:30 in the Forbury Gardens, sent on its way by Reading East's Labour MP, Matt Rodda. From the Forbury, the march went through the Market Place, down Broad Street and along West Street before returning to Town Hall Square along Friar Street.
John Partington (right, TSSA) with fellow marchers
Once the marchers assembled outside the Town Hall, Nada introduced ten speakers representing the diversity of the Reading population. Speeches covered such topics as the plight of disabled people under Conservative austerity policies, the experiences of migrants living in Reading from such places as Iraq, Pakistan and the USA and the fight for fair pensions by UCU members at the University of Reading - a part of a national strike action by university teaching staff.
Nada Al-Sanjari (NEU) introduced the speakers
Of the ten speakers, two were RTUC delegates. Nada (NEU), as well as introducing the other speakers, spoke on the effects on women of the illegal war in Iraq, waged by the USA, Britain and their allies in 2003. And Nikki Dancey (GMB), who gave a history of women's roles in the Reading labour movement and celebrated the high proportion of women in the present trade union movement - including Frances O'Grady, the current (and first female) General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress.
Nikki Dancey (GMB) speaks on the history of
Reading women in the labour movement
The event was wonderfully attended and is clearly an annual feature in Reading's labour calendar. Nada is to be congratulated for organising such a successful event and the speakers are to be thanked for their educative expositions on the plight of women in society, past and present - in Britain and abroad.