Here is a report on the Nov 30 action in Gateshead.
arrived at Gateshead Civic Centre just after 7.30 this morning and
already there were around 20 pickets and their supporters from UNISON
and the GMB on the gate. While a small number of scabs crossed the
picket line, many cars turned around and left. There was a lot of
support from passing cars. lorries and taxis and even two or three
police cars that honked their horns in support as they went past. It’s clear that the Tories have completely misjudged the mood of ordinary workers in respect of the attack on our pensions.
The main demonstration in Newcastle gathered at Gateshead Civic from
about 10.30. It soon became clear that this was going to be a big
demonstration. In recent years the Mayday demonstration in Newcastle has
attracted some 2-300 people. Today however there were almost that many
firefighters present; despite the fact that the FBU did not ballot for
Hundreds of local government workers, nurses, civil
servants, teachers, lecturers as well as students and retired members
participate. The police estimated that some 8,500 workers participated.
So its more than likely that there were 10,000 plus. As well as the big
unions such as UNISON, Unite, PCS, NASUWT, NUT, UCU and the GMB there
were many physiotherapists present. As one speaker pointed out they were
tired of being manipulated. The radiographers could see right through
the Tories plans and the chiropodists had voted with their feet. There
were a significant number of RCN members present as well.
Crowe who was present to support RMT members from the Tyne and Wear
Metro may a clear call for a 24 hour general strike involving all
workers. This was echoed by Kevin McHugh from the PCS.
of schools in the North East were closed today and such was the
strength of the action that all council buildings in Gateshead were shut
down. The few scabs who turned up for work were left huddling together
in the staff canteen with no access to their computers. The entire Tyne
and Wear Metro system was closed down as well. Its obvious also that
there was a huge amount of disruption on the roads.
needed after the action today is a clear call from the trade union
leaders for a one day general strike including both the public and the private sector workers. Yesterday’s autumn statement demonstrated that
the Tories and the Lib Dems have nothing to offer but years of misery
and austerity. Anyone under the age of 52 will now have to work to age
67 before they can get a pension while the Tories intend to extend pay
restraint for more years. This means severe cuts in the standard of
living for millions of workers.
We need to fight all increases in pension contributions and all cuts in pensions.
For a 24 hour General Strike!