Saturday, 12 May 2018

A New Deal For Working People 12 March 2018

RTUC assemble at the rally: Billie Reynolds (Unison),
John Partington (TSSA) and Steve Geary (USDAW)
On 12 May 2018 from 11:00 until 16:00, trade unionists and others battling for workers' rights, the NHS and public services assembled in London and marched and rallied under the banner of 'a new deal for working people'.
John Gillman (RTUC & Unite)
Reading Trades Union Council delegates were there with their trade unions and political; parties, including Billie Reynolds (Unison), Steve Geary (USDAW), Kevin Jackson (Unison), Cllr Ruth McEwan (Unison), John Partington (TSSA), John Gillman (Unite) and Neil Adams (Unite).

John Partington (right, TSSA & RTUC) with his
Network Rail North London Branch Chair, Andy Bain
The TSSA delegation, included members from its affiliate branch to the RTUC, Andy Bain (Network Rail North London Branch Chair) and John Partington, who were joined on the march by their General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, and Assistant General Secretary, Steve Coe.

TSSA delegation, led by Assistant General Secretary, Steve
Coe (left), and General Secretary Manuel Cortes
As has become standard, pro-NHS campaigners joined trade unionists, so interrelated are their respective struggles.

NHS campaigners, shoulder to shoulder with trade unionists
Of the more impressive banners on display, a mention must go to the RMT's (Liverpool No. 5 Branch), sporting an image of the great Bob Crow with his immortal words, 'If you fight you might lose but if you don't fight, you will always lose'.
RMT marching for their members' rights
As the marchers congregated at Hyde Park and the rain began to fall, Manuel Cortes of the TSSA kept spirits up with a rousing speech on the need for rail nationalisation and highlighting the Conservatives urge for privatisation and attacks on public services.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary,
addresses the rally
Dave Prentis of Unison restated the need for workers to defend the government attacks on public services and to reject any continuing cap on public sector pay.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison 
Patrick Roach of the NASUWT bemoaned spending inequalities in education and the government's loading the dice in favour of academies, free schools and - more recently - grammar schools.

Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT

Why we marched and rallied!

Mark Serwotka of the PCS followed in the strong roster of speakers.

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS
Matt Wrack of the FBU gave an impassioned speech in support of the emergency services, reflecting on the approaching anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster and the government's reluctant relaxation on the public sector pay freeze for fire fighters. Matt pointed out - every one of the fire fighters who risked their lives in Grenfell Tower were trade unionists!

Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades' Union
The TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, followed Matt, speaking but briefly, introducing the man many trade unionists are placing their hopes in for a reversal of austerity politics - Jeremy Corbyn MP.

General Secretary of the Trades union Congress, Frances O'Grady
As Labour leader, Jeremy recommitted the party to reforming trade union law, ensuring all workers received representation and protection at work without fear of recrimination. He promised an enquire into the Orgreave scandal, when miners were attacked by South Yorkshire Police during the Great Strike of 1984-85 - and no officers have been brought to justice yet. He promised to roll back privatisation of health provision and maintain a fully public National Health Service. He said Labour would end the scandal of railway franchisee charging exuberant fares and receiving public subsidy. Labour would nationalise the railways, water and the postal service - policies the public are keen to see. Despite the rain, Jeremy captivated his audience and received round after round of applause.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the Labour Party
Following Jeremy, Gill Walton of the Royal College of Midwives restated the call - made by several speakers already - for the maintenance of a public health service, free at the point of use, and fair pay for the staff keeping it going.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives
Gill encouraged her audience to return to London on 30 June to celebrate the NHS's 70 birthday and to be vocal about our desire to preserve it and keep it public.

Advertising the next protest - fighting on all front!
Dave Ward of the Communication Workers' Union followed, reiterating Jeremy's call for a renationalised postal service and alerting his listeners to the efforts in the telecommunications industry to deskill and reduce wages for staff.

Dave Ward, General Secretary of the Communication Workers' Union
The final speaker was the heavyweight of the trade union movement, leader of the largest trade union in Britain, Len McCluskey of Unite. He gave a ringing endorsement for Jeremy Corbyn's leadership and committed his trade union to fighting for a Corbyn-led Labour government at the next general election.

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite
Despite the rain, it was a great day, recharging the radical batteries and sending everyone home with a sense of purpose - and urgency; end Tory rule and fight for workers' rights, the NHS - and Corbyn-led Labour government!

Unison assemble, including Kevin Jackson (second right)
and Cllr Ruth McEwan (right) of the RTUC
The following are examples of radical literature being distributed during the march and rally: