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October 26, 2012 / politicsbitesize

For a future that works

For the first time in their long history the TUC and UNISON joined forces to rally people to protest against the austerity measures implemented by the Coalition Government.  On October 20 2012, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of London, Belfast and Glasgow to march under the banner of ‘A Future That Works’.

Public service workers, union officials and politicians, including the Labour leader Ed Miliband, came together to attack the Government’s spending cuts and inability to straighten out the tax system.  Mr Miliband called David Cameron clueless and said that the Coalition was cutting taxes for the very rich whilst taking benefits off the poorest.

The Labour leader went on to claim that, ‘It is one rule for those at the top and one rule for everyone else’.  This was a notion that was reflected in one of the many banners that protestors were carrying that stated that it was ‘Plebs Against Toffs’.  Protestors booed as they passed Downing Street and shouted ‘pay your taxes’ at every Starbucks they passed.

Speaking at the rally the TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said, ‘We have a stark and united message for the government. Austerity isn’t working. It is hitting our jobs, our services, our living standards. It is hammering the poorest and the most vulnerable’.  He went on to tell protestors that, ‘It’s time for change – for a future that puts people back to work, gets our economy moving and tax revenues flowing’.

In the wake of the march UNISON general secretary, Dave Prentis, is urging as many people as possible to sign a petition that calls ‘on the government to recognise that austerity isn’t working and to develop an alternative that will provide decent jobs, rising prosperity for all and maintain high quality public services’.

He said, ‘The marches that took place on 20 October were just one step in our campaign to end this government’s vicious assault on working people. As we continue to campaign for an end to the pay freeze, for a living wage for our lowest paid workers, against regional pay, attacks on facility time and against the wholesale privatisation of our public services this petition is one of the next steps’.

Another step in this march against further cuts is a general strike.  The TUC is consulting with other unions to discuss the practicalities of calling for nationwide industrial action and an announcement is likely to be made soon.  In the meantime, a Europe-wide day of action against austerity measures is planned for November 14th.

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