NUJ supports anti-austerity march
People's Assembly march against austerity - © NUJ
23 June 2014
NUJ members joined fire fighters, health workers, teachers, trade unionists and supporters of the People’s Assembly to march in protest against the government’s austerity measures.
Thousands of demonstrators left the BBC’s London headquarters, where they heard John McDonnell MP and secretary of the NUJ Parliamentary Group call on the Labour Party to attack austerity, and marched through the capital to a rally where they were addressed by speakers including comedians Russell Brand and Mark Steel, journalist Owen Jones and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.
Owen Jones said: "Who is really responsible for the mess this country is in? Is it the Polish fruit pickers or the Nigerian nurses? Or is it the bankers who plunged it into economic disaster?”
The NUJ's Delegate Meeting in April voted to support a trade-union-led campaign to "highlight how the current scandal of low wages is holding back economic growth by reducing people’s ability to spend and worsening the cost of living crisis".
The resolution instructed the NUJ to support the People's Assembly's campaign against austerity and to take part in the TUC's Britain Needs a Pay Rise march in London on Saturday 18 October.
Frances O’ Grady, TUC general secretary said:
“Hard-pressed families across the UK must be beginning to wonder when the tough times they are experiencing will ever end. They keep hearing that the economy is growing and learning of yet another bonus extravaganza in the city, yet their own wages never seem to go far enough"
More details on the TUC website.
The NUJ motion in full:
Composite W (covering motions 152, 153 and 154)
This DM instructs the NEC to urge the TUC and the trade union movement to launch a campaign to highlight how the current scandal of low wages is holding back economic growth by reducing people’s ability to spend and worsening the cost of living crisis. At present it is clear that any projected upturn in the economy has totally failed to impact on living standards and pay. The whole trade union movement should be targeting the continuing holding back of pay as a major scandal.
This DM notes :
• The Tories’ continued austerity drives across Britain with huge cuts to public spending, attacks on wages and more jobs cuts.
• The People’s Assembly met on 22 June 2013 in London and saw 4,000 activists debate the way to build the anti-austerity movement.
• Tens of thousands joined the mass protest against austerity at the Tory Party conference on 29th September 2013 in Manchester called by Unite, Unison, and the GMB, and backed by the TUC and other unions.
• The powerful strikes by 2.5 million workers on 30 November 2011.
• That we have seen a number of unions , such as the FBU, NUT, NASUWT, CWU, PCS
and UCU, Unison & Unite in Higher Education, taking or balloting for national strike action.
This DM welcomes a motion carried by the TUC at its conference last September calling for mass joint strikes and peaceful civil disobedience across the country to “wage war on the politics of austerity.”
This DM notes
• 13 million people living in poverty, up by a million since the British government coalition came to power
• 1.8 million families on housing waiting lists
• Half a million people now reliant on food banks
• One million workers languishing on zero hour contracts
• 2.5 million people unemployed and 6.8 million more looking for work
This DM congratulates the TUC Congress for supporting unions taking co-ordinating action, including strikes, as the most effective way to break the cycle of pay restraint and cuts in jobs and service.
This DM believes:
• That we can’t simply wait for a Labour government to end austerity, particularly after Ed Miliband signed up to Tory spending plans.
• That we should support the call for the creation of local People’s Assemblies and other People’s Assembly initiatives
• There is an urgent need to build up the strength of trade union organisation across the public and private sectors.
• And, instead of proposing spending millions on war on Syria the money should be spent on waging war on food banks, putting people back to work, improving education, and providing dignity for our elderly , not debt and despair.
This DM instructs the NEC to :
A. Support the call, raised again at last year’s TUC Congress, for a general strike ; and
remind the TUC that the call for a one-day general strike is still a relevant one and should be pursued as part of the fight back against the attacks of this present government.
B. Back the call at the TUC for a national day of action against austerity , including coordinated strike action, to oppose the cuts and the wrecking of the welfare state , as well as a nationwide march against poverty in 2014, and
C. Campaign among the membership to support co-ordinated strikes with other unions
against austerity cuts, pay and job losses in the media, and
D. Campaign within the TUC for unions to name the day for co-ordinated strikes as soon as possible.
E. Support the People’s Assembly, Unite the Resistance and National Shop Stewards’ Network.