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Southampton campaigners march in defence of jobs and services
Hugo Pierre speaks to the Southampton protest, Photo Southampton SP
Trade unionists, community campaigners, students and socialists marched into the centre of Southampton on 5 February to protest at government, council and business attacks on jobs, pay and services in the city.
Southampton Socialist Party
Organised by Southampton Shop Stewards Network (SSSN), this march was an opportunity to put forward a clear message of opposition to all cuts in jobs and services.
"We have to nail the lie that these cuts are necessary. While the government picks our pockets with rises in VAT they hand over our money to the super-rich through cuts in corporation tax.
"Their policies are to protect the profits of big business at our expense." explained Nick Chaffey, secretary of SSSN, at the rally. David Rawlinson exposed how these cuts were hitting frontline services: "The Bitterne Walk-In service provides access to the NHS for over 500 people a week.
"Without any alternative but a long and expensive trip across the city to A&E, the plan to close the Walk-In during the day is a brutal cut to local services.
"Over 3,000 people have signed the petition to oppose these cuts."
The rally attracted support as shoppers stopped to hear the speakers, signed petitions and took leaflets. After the demonstration council workers, postal workers, civil servants, Women Against Cuts, students and NHS campaigners heard from RMT Wessex regional organiser, Pete Gale, about the vital need to organise mass opposition to the cuts not only industrially but also politically.
"The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has been initiated by the RMT as a means to offer a real alternative to the three party unity on making cuts."
Alongside him Hugo Pierre, from the National Shop Stewards Network, highlighted the potential of the trade unions to organise national coordinated action to stop the cuts.
"The TUC demonstration [on 26 March] will be massive but we must be there to raise the call for a one-day public sector strike to intensify the pressure on the government and demonstrate the power working people have."
The meeting unanimously endorsed a resolution from the SSSN to launch Southampton Anti-Cuts Union to take the fight against cuts out to every area of the city.
In The Socialist 9 February 2011:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis