Photos: “Britain Needs A Pay Rise,” The TUC-Led Protest in London, October 18, 2014 (2/2)

See my second set of photos of “Britain Needs A Pay Rise” on Flickr.

On Saturday October 18, 2014, after I took part in “Britain Needs A Pay Rise,” a march and rally in London organised by the TUC (Trades Union Congress), I posted a photo set on Flickr, and an accompanying article. I have now posted a second set of photos, and, to accompany that set, this article follows up on some of the themes of the march and rally, which, I was glad to note, was attended by around 90,000 people.

The event was called by the TUC to highlight the growing inequality in the UK, and to call for an increase in pay for those who are not in the top 10% of earners, who, it was recently revealed, now control 54.1% of the country’s wealth.

In the Observer on Sunday, Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang addressed some of the issues addressed by the TUC event — and, more generally, by those of us who are dismayed by the failure of the Labour Party to challenge the myths peddled by the Tories and their Lib Dem facilitators regarding the need for savage austerity programmes, which, it seems, will be as endless as the “war on terror.” Read the rest of this entry »

Photos: “Britain Needs A Pay Rise,” The TUC-Led Protest in London, October 18, 2014 (1/2)

See my photos of “Britain Needs A Pay Rise” on Flickr.

On Saturday October 18, 2014, I was one of around 90,000 people who took part in “Britain Needs A Pay Rise,” a march and rally in London organised by the TUC (Trades Union Congress) to highlight the growing inequality in the UK, and to call for an increase in pay for those who are not in the top 10% of earners, who, it was recently revealed, now control 54.1% of the country’s wealth. The London march began on Victoria Embankment and proceeded to Hyde Park, where there was a rally. Other protests took place in Glasgow and Belfast.

I was pleased that 90,000 people turned up, from all over the country, and there was a great atmosphere on the march, which was reassuring, as it is often easy to be despondent, so successful are the efforts by the Tories and the right-wing media to discredit unions and the solidarity of the people. I had many pleasant exchanges with people from Yorkshire, Lancashire and across London, and I hope another event takes place in spring, before the general election.

As I explained in an article before the protest, I was “extremely glad to see the TUC putting together a major protest, as it is exactly two years since the last major TUC-organised protest, ‘A Future That Works’ (see here and here for my photo sets on Flickr) Prior to that, there was the ‘March for the Alternative’ in March 2011,” which I wrote about here. Read the rest of this entry »

Please Support “Britain Needs A Pay Rise,” the TUC March and Rally in London on Saturday, October 18

On Saturday, I’ll be joining — hopefully — tens of thousands of people (at least) for “Britain Needs a Payrise,” a march and rally in central London organised by the TUC (Trades Union Congress). Campaigners are meeting on the Embankment  at 11am and marching through the West End to Hyde Park, where there will be a rally (see the route map here). The Facebook page is here, where you can join the event, and you can also pledge your support on the website. There is also a Twitter page here.

As the TUC states, in its message about the protest, “Join us for a march and rally in London on 18 October 2014, to help call for an economic recovery that works for all Britons, not just those right at the top.”

The following are three very good reasons given by the TUC for joining the march and rally: Read the rest of this entry »

Photos: A Riot of Colour, Solidarity and Indignation on the TUC March in London

Thousands march against austerityThe sun on the rallyAusterity is failingNo cutsMusical protestRedDog's vultures
The teachers' pink balloonsMaking some noiseCut Trident, Save £100 billionDon't be fooled by the sky-blue capsFlags and bannersSolidarity with Greece
The Fire Brigade Union's pipersNo to nuclear!Lewisham NHS campaignersBoudiccaFiddling for social justiceApproaching Trafalgar Square
Operation VendettaAusterity meets corporate power at Piccadilly CircusThe austerity bus by Piccadilly CircusTony Blair, war criminalThe marchers reach Hyde ParkJustice 4 Domestic Workers

A Riot of Colour, Solidarity and Indignation on the TUC March in London, a set on Flickr.

Following up on the photos I published yesterday of the best placards and banners I saw on Saturday’s 150,000-strong march and rally in central London (“A Future That Works,” organised by the TUC), this second set of photos features the march more generally, and includes photos I took of various union members and activists on Victoria Embankment, and also as the march proceeded up Whitehall, along Piccadilly, and into Hyde Park for the rally at the end of the day.

There various speakers, including Labour leader Ed Miliband, addressed the government’s crimes against British workers — and also schoolchildren, students, the old, the ill, the homeless, the unemployed and the disabled. My archive of articles about the Tories’ wretched policies, and the resistance to them, is here. Read the rest of this entry »

Photos: The Best Placards and Banners from “A Future That Works,” the TUC March and Rally in London

George Osborne: First Class TwatWe are not a plebThe cuts are a jokeDisabled. Socialist. Artist. I'm screwed.Beware the thieving hand of OsborneThe plebs are revolting
Teachers against Michael GoveDanger: Toxic ToriesPlebs on tourI've never kissed a Tory …The Occupy familyGobshites
Queers Against CutsWe won't pay for their crisisBankenstein

The Best Placards and Banners from “A Future That Works,” the TUC March and Rally in London, a set on Flickr.

Anyone with a heart would be hard-pressed to say that living in Tory Britain — with the particularly savage dolts currently in Downing Street and in the Cabinet — is anything less than an ordeal. Through their treatment of the disabled alone, ministers have taken a route that is thoroughly depressing on a permanent basis, as the government — and its overpaid puppets in the French multinational Atos Healthcare — systematically pursue a policy of making disabled people undergo tests designed to prove that they are fit for work — when they are not — to cut their state support.

The stress and the impoverishment of those who should be helped rather than put through this callous ordeal — and which is repeated if claimants manage to prove that they are unfit for work, or if they successfully appeal (as a majority do) — enrages me on a daily basis, but they are not the only casualties of the Tories’ shrinking state — one which, shockingly, public sector expenditure will plummet to a smaller percentage of GDP than the US by 2017. Read the rest of this entry »

Why We Need Regular Protests Against the Coalition Government’s Brutal Ideological Cuts

So I was on the streets of London yesterday, after joining my wife, my son and three of his friends, whose school was closed for the day, as well as other friends and teachers from my son’s school (who even had a banner!) on a march from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Methodist Central Hall, via the Strand and Whitehall. It was a lovely sunny day, and the children looked wonderful, blowing whistles, plastered with National Union of Teachers (NUT) stickers, wearing T-shirts provided by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), and also waving flags from the University and College Union (UCU) and Lewisham People Before Profit. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers were on strike, from the three unions above, plus the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), whose members were on a national strike for the first time since 1979, and the march and rally in London was attended by at least 30,00 people.

This was something of a family affair for me, as my wife is a UCU member, some of our very good friends are teachers, and, of course, we know other university lecturers and have, over the last seven years that my son has been at primary and junior school, got to know all his teachers. However, I would have been there in solidarity even if the strike had not involved anyone I knew, for two reasons: firstly, because the argument about pensions is actually part of an ideological struggle between the government and the unions, in which the government, to be blunt, is not to be trusted; and secondly, because yesterday’s strike actions were part of a wider desire for protests against the government — for their arrogance, their incompetence, and the savage reach of their entire programme for wrecking the state and privatising whatever hasn’t already been privatised under Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown, as I have been explaining since October in my series of articles under the heading, Battle for Britain: Fighting the Coalition Government’s Vile Ideology. Read the rest of this entry »

June 30: A National Day of Action Against the Incompetent Tory-Led Coalition and Its Savage Ideological Cuts

Next Thursday, June 30, is the first big day of action involving widespread strikes since the coalition government began its miserable assault on the state after the General Election last May. 750,000 public sector workers from the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the University and College Union (UCU) will take part in a one-day walkout, primarily over the government’s planned pension reforms, which will almost certainly be the trigger for further strikes in the autumn. As the Guardian explained, the day of action “is expected to bring schools, colleges, universities, courts, ports and jobcentres to a standstill, and comes as millions of staff face pay freezes, job losses and pension reforms.”

Speaking to the Guardian last week, Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, the largest public sector union, with 1.4 million members, was already discussing a possible follow-up. Although he is hoping for a negotiated settlement with the government over pension reforms and other pressing issues of concern to Unison members, and is not taking part in the action on June 30, he “described plans for waves of strike action, with public services shut down on a daily basis, rolling from one region to the next and from sector to sector,” fuelled by “growing anger over a public sector pay freeze that could trigger more disputes further down the line,” and “changes [which] would unfairly penalise women, who form the majority of low-paid public sector workers.” He told the Guardian, “It will be the biggest since the general strike. It won’t be the miners’ strike. We are going to win.”

Prentis’ warning to the government has not yet materialised, of course, but, crucially, the striking union workers who are committed to action on June 30 will be joined by many other people who will be using the day to campaign more broadly against the bitter fallout from the government’s largely indiscriminate austerity programme, which has prompted a steep decline in the government’s popularity over the last 12 months. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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