UK government and public service workers currently on strike as members of the PCS trade union, joined thousands of protestors who braved rain and cold weather to march in central London against the “shambolic” ruling Conservatives.
Organised by the People’s Assembly - a mass movement and coalition of trade unions and pressure groups - the demonstration demanded an end to the government's “broken Britain”, with immediate action on low pay, a repeal of hostile trade union laws and a general election now. November’s day of action has been a precursor to widespread organised disputes across hundreds of workplaces and industries.
Rights campaigners, including anti-racists angry at the Tories inhumane actions against migrants, were there with placard and banner waving environmentalists.
Former PCS national executive member Austin Harney said: “The government is completely out of touch about the cost of living crisis they've created. I work in the ministry of justice, which is one of the lowest paid departments."
"If we have to bring the government to its knees that’s our only way in order for them to wake up to reality”.
PCS President Fran Heathcote described the stark choices facing impoverished government workers around the country. “Our members have had enough. We have members employed by this government reliant on foodbanks and that can’t be right. The government is shambolic at the moment, lurching from one crisis to another. Our key demand is to get this government out so that we can have this sorted by a Labour administration."
Other speakers included RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch, John Rees, the People’s Assembly founder, National Education Union joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney, Paula Peters, a leading disability rights activist, Jeremy Corbyn MP and Diane Abbott MP.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka made a rousing speech, saying: “I’m particularly proud to see so many PCS flags and trade union banners here in Trafalgar Square”.
“Look around this square. Have you seen people sleeping on the streets? The average life span of a man there is 45- years -old. For a woman, it is 41. They are making us work longer, making our pensions worse and cutting our pay and they privatise the profits while they nationalise the debts."
"The criminals in charge of the country saw their friends short-selling the pound and making hundreds of millions while our mortgages went up, our rents went up and more and more people are struggling to put the lights on and feed their kids”.
“We will be asking the RMT, CWU, UCU and any other union: if you strike, we will go on strike the same day as you, because the more of us that go on strike, the more chance we have of winning."
He went on: "We have the power, we have the determination, we can win. Support the strikes, drive the Tories out”.