UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Northern region mobilises against austerity‏

As part of a European Day of Protest against the imposition of savage economic policies hundreds of people took part in the Northern Public Services Alliance rally in Newcastle city centre at lunchtime yesterday. Trade union members from both public and private sector workplaces were joined with community voluntary groups, students, and the public to show their determination to campaign against the savage austerity measures being pursued by the Con Dem Coalition Government. This was part of a number of activities across the North East and Cumbria with local events in Durham, Carlisle, Sunderland, and a rally in Middlesbrough. The events attracted local media coverage: http://www.itv.com/tynetees/union-protest-at-cuts31868/

The economic policies of this Government are not only economically flawed but pose a fundamental threat to the very fabric of our communities. Public service workers provide a range of services which are essential for some of the most vulnerable such as the elderly, disabled, and those having to manage on low wages. At the same time public sector workers spend 70p of every £1 of their wages in the regional economy. It makes no economic sense to put thousands of these people out of work, and risks economic recovery. It is also important to understand that the public sector also provides significant employment opportunities for the private sector in terms of goods and infrastructure. It is private sector workers who build new schools and hospitals, and provide the equipment used.

Across the North East trade unions have come together to build alliances with other community, volunatary, faith groups and service users to promote an alternative economic plan to that of the slash and burn approach of this Government. There are public services alliance coalitions in every part of the Region growing in numbers and showing the determination and strength of the people of the North East to stand up against and say they are not willing to see their public services decimated; they are not willing to see their regional economy decimated; and they are not willing to accept that ordinary working people should be asked to pay the price for an economic crisis not of their making.

Yesterday was another show of strength and solidarity in the Public Service Alliance campaign, there will be more public rallies to get our message heard, and there will be more local activities in our workplaces and communities to build the biggest challenge to the undemocratic policies of the Government.

Clare Williams