The Socialist 16 February 2011 |
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Worcester: end the cuts and the coalition!
On 12 February, 250 trade unionists and students marched through Worcester city centre in a trades union council protest against massive cuts.
Sean McCauley, Worcester Socialist Party
The demonstration, fronted by a lively samba band, was full of trade union banners and homemade placards denouncing both government and local council spending cuts.
Worcestershire county council is axing £60 million from its budget. 1,000 redundancies are threatened, many of which will come from children's services.
The NHS Worcestershire chief executive has said that £60 million cuts will result in the sacking of doctors and nurses. 200 health service workers have already lost their jobs and 120 beds have been closed at the main hospital in Worcester.
Marchers proceeded to a rally to hear a speaker from NAPO, the probation service union, warn of drastic cuts to supervision of those at high risk of re-offending.
Pete McNally, from rail workers' union Aslef, highlighted that trade unions should lead a serious fightback, starting with a one day public sector general strike.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU firefighters' union, spoke of the inspiration the students' movement had given to trade unionists.
Matt said that if workers and young people in Egypt could overthrow a repressive dictatorship, then we too could end the increasingly disunited Con-Dem coalition government.
One speaker from the audience brought the solidarity of anti-cuts activists in Gloucester.
Other speakers made comparisons with the struggle that defeated the poll tax and former prime minister Thatcher, as 18 million people defied the law and refused to pay the regressive tax.