On May 4th around 250 workers and youth marched through Hull city centre as part of Hull TUC’s May Day celebrations. The march doubled as a protest against the austerity of the coalition government, and was led by the Labour councillors in Hull who are defying the cuts and providing an inspiration to the entire labour movement. Callum Stanland reports.
On May 4th around 250 workers and youth marched through Hull city centre as part of Hull TUC’s May Day celebrations. The march doubled as a protest against the austerity of the coalition government.
There were many different reasons local people had for marching: the bedroom tax and the war on welfare, local council cuts, and demands for better workers’ rights across the world were just a few.
There were speeches from Unison, NUT and the TUC. The three Labour councillors in Hull who voted against the cuts were invited to march at the front and gave speeches at the rally.
Cllr Gary Wareing, Labour councillor for Drypool ward in Hull who voted against the cuts, said:
“The working class are facing the biggest attack on living standards in living memory. Austerity is about making the people pay. Everyone is affected. Workers have had their rights attacked and employment laws have removed protections at work. Public sector workers face pay freezes, job loses privatisation and attacks on pensions. Pensioners, children and families face cuts and closure of services.
What we need is for labour to show true leadership for the working class. We don’t just want reforms – we want a wholesale change to socialism.”
It was apt that the march started outside the Primark store in Hull after the tragedy in Bangladesh, where over 500 workers, who were poorly paid and working long hours to manufacture cheap clothes to generate profits for the rich owners of Primark, died in the factory collapse in Dhaka.
A minutes’ silence was held for those that died. This case is a tragic reminder of the importance of trade unionists across the world keeping up the fight for better working conditions and against the profit-motive system of capitalism that tries to drive those same conditions down.
There was a real anger with the austerity agenda of the coalition government. There was no doubt in the minds of those that spoke of the cause for this austerity and attacks on the working class: the capitalist system. The solution offered was to take the commanding heights of the economy into public ownership under democratic workers control in order to plan the economy for the benefit of everyone. With such a transformation in society, everyone would have a decent home, a good job for those that are able to work, and enough food to feed their family.