Sunday, 3 July 2011

Report of Bristol Pensions Strike demonstration

Report by Tom Baldwin

Over 5,000 people marched through Bristol today in the biggest demonstration that the city has seen in a generation. Striking teachers, lecturers and civil servants made this an impressive display of the strength of their strike.
Solidarity for their action was shown by members of the FBU, CWU, Unite, Unison and other unions and by a large number of students who all joined the demonstration.
Shoppers also voiced their support as they lined the sides of the march route. As Socialist Party member and PCS vice-president John McInally explained in a speech to the crowd, the strike was not just about pensions but implicitly about defending jobs and services from the vicious attacks by the government.
The energetic and enthusiastic mood was tempered by a real determination to do what is necessary to defeat the cuts. The biggest cheers came from all sides when speakers called for the action to be extended to a general strike across the whole public sector.
When a speaker from the ATL teachers' union said the strike was not intended to bring down the government large sections of the crowd vocally expressed their disagreement!
Earlier in the day Socialist Party members had visited and brought solidarity to all the main picket lines in the city. The demand for a one-day public-sector general strike as the next step in the struggle was universally well received.
Pickets all explained how this had been more solid than previous strikes. The need to fight back is very clear cut to workers who face not only attacks on their pensions but also on their pay and conditions, on job security and on the services that they provide.
As a civil service union PCS member picketing the Crown Court explained to me: "You wouldn't tolerate it if Cameron came into your house and stole your telly so we have to fight back when they try and do the same with our pensions."

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