Friday, 1 July 2011

30 June: fantastic march and strike rally in Truro, Cornwall

Over 150 people assembled at Pydar House in Truro from 10am on Thursday 30 June for a march against cuts, privatisation and job losses called by Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance. Pydar House is home to Atos Origin, the company that helps to force people with disabilities off disability benefits and onto the lower unemployment benefit. The demonstrators marched down Pydar Street, through the town and into Lemon Quay. Marchers waved placards and banners including from the teachers' NUT and ATL unions, Falmouth University UCU, PCS Revenue and Customs Cornwall, Devon and Somerset Branch, Cornwall FBU, GMB and Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance. The protestors chanted "no ifs, no buts, no public service cuts" as passing cars honked their horns and people came out of shops to watch, cheer and give the thumbs-up.

As the march made its way into Lemon Quay it was cheered by around 400 strikers that had assembled at a rally organised by the NUT. The members of NUT, ATL, UCU and PCS trade unions were on strike over government attacks on their pensions and to prevent damaging attacks on the services they provide. Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance members and supporters then joined the rally to demonstrate their support for the strikes and to make it a day of resistance to all the attacks on ordinary people including to the National Health Service, people with disabilities and the homeless. Members of the newly-formed Cornwall Disabled People Against Cuts were also present.

Speakers at the rally included representatives of all the striking unions as well as from Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance, Unison and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Alana Bates, Campaigns Officer for Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance congratulated the striking unions on their action and went on to say "people should unite against the cuts and today is the start of that. Nobody voted for these policies yet the Tories are dismantling and selling off the welfare state. We are not on the side of the banks and the millionaires in government, we are on the side of ordinary people who are fighting to defend living standards for all of us".

Keith Shilson, march organiser for Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance said "it was a fantastic day. The level of support for the march demonstrates that most people don't buy the government's rhetoric that tries to demonise the strikers. Most ordinary people understand that the strikers are fighting for all of us and give them their full support. The government is trying to make ordinary people pay for the crisis that was caused by the banks and today we said, in very clear terms, that we will not allow that to happen".

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