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Thursday, May 06, 2010
May Day in London
THOUSANDS of workers all around Britain last Saturday turned out on May Day parades to celebrate international Workers’ Day and to lobby against impending cuts in public sector jobs and services after the election.
They were all marching for trade union rights, human rights and international solidarity across the world and several thousands gathered at Clerkenwell Green in central London by Marx House for the annual march from there to Trafalgar Square.
As usual it was colourful and noisy with large contingents from the Turkish and Kurdish communities in London and headed by trade union banners and a large contingent from the Labour Representation Committee.
The New Communist Party was among many political banners on this march, following a brief interview by BBC2 reporters with NCP general secretary Andy Brooks, which was shown the same night on the Newsnight programme.
The event was organised by the South East Region TUC (Sertuc), which also organised several other marches, including in Ipswich, Brighton and the Isle of Wight.
There were also major May Day marches in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Cardiff, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.
The London march ended in Trafalgar Square where Megan Dobney, speaking for Sertuc, paid tribute to the Greek workers who are refusing to knuckle under international capitalism’s demands for a huge austerity programme designed to resolve the country’s huge debt problem.
The crisis was caused by irresponsible bankers, not the workers, and the workers are right to refuse to pay the bill in hardship and misery.
Veteran Labour campaigners Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone as well as union leaders addressed the rally including PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh. The civil service workers’ leader called for unions to unite after the election to fight the massive cuts in public spending that all the main political parties were threatening.
Baugh said: “Across the UK, workers from the private and public sectors are coming together to resist what we have been told will be vicious cuts to jobs, living standards, pensions and public services.
“We stand together with all workers to say we did not cause this crisis and we do not accept that we should be made to pay for it.
“We fundamentally reject the consensus that massive cuts in public spending are necessary, but if they are anything like on the scale that has been suggested, industrial action by the unions is not only likely, it is inevitable.”
One of the main speakers at the London Mayday rally was Thierry Schaffauser – president of the GMB sex workers’ branch, speaking on behalf of the Sertuc Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender network.
He quoted from an article he had written that was published in the New Worker a few months ago on the need for trade union protection for sex workers.
They are demanding the recognition of their human and labour rights and the end of their criminalisation.