LABOUR Party leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the contribution of refugees and overseas workers in the NHS when he addressed a 1,500-strong Burston Strike School anniversary rally yesterday.
It is now 102 years since the strike began on April 1st 1914 and continued until 1939.
Corbyn said: ‘We are not going to be divided by UKIP, and others.’ He said that the ‘conditions of farm workers at that time were dreadful’.
He added that Thatchersim had destroyed manufacturing, removed wage protection and instituted the free market. He said: ‘We have the minimum wage but we want £10 an hour.’ He added that the youth minimum wage had to go ‘as young people eat as much as an adult’.
Corbyn continued: ‘It’s time zero-hours contracts are ended. Eighteen countries in Europe have outlawed them. We want good quality apprenticeships and access to university. We believe in education for all. Equality starts at birth with a secure place to live and pre-school facilities. Free schools and academies should be brought back into local authority control. Education has to be a human right, not a commodity.’
Corbyn continued: ‘We want to be the party of investment and redistribution.
‘We want to invest in education, council housing, good communications like bus services and broadband. The Labour Party had to learn very hard lessons from the defeat in 2015. We promised cuts and abstained on welfare reforms.
‘We have to be the party of anti-austerity against the underfunding of the NHS, opposed to the cutting of benefits and for investment, and for workers rights, anti-discrimination and human rights.’
Haroon Rashid, full-time rep for Birmingham region bakers union BFAWU said: ‘Capitalism is robbing us all. When we see junior doctors taking action and other professionals are telling us that the people in power have got it wrong we know it’s time for action. We can’t put a general strike off much longer. It’s right to demand a general strike now.’
King’s Lynn FBU representative from Norfolk Pete Greeves told News Line: ‘We are 80 per cent of what we were 10 years ago. Norfolk has lost full-time and retained firefighters, and we have also lost equipment, and these are just a proportion of the cuts to come.
‘When you look at what has happened in London and other services across the country you can see how a good service has been run down and it is costing lives. The leaders of the TUC seem very toothless. I don’t know what they are doing but it doesn’t seem to be anything.
‘We are being faced with not being able to keep our jobs, to provide for our families, to keep our homes and they keep saying they are negotiating. I can’t see any other option but to call a general strike. We need to be able to fight back and defend everything that faces cuts and closures,’ concluded Greeves.
There were banners and delegations from Eastern Region CWU, Ipswich NUT, Aslef District No5, Ipswich LP, Norfolk People’s Assembly, PCS Eastern Region, RMT Norwich, Clyde and Western Isles National Union of Maritime and Transport Workers, NUT Norwich, Colchester Green Party, Keep Our NHS Public Norfolk, Mid Suffolk LP, Harlow and District Trades Council, Momentum, Camden and District Trades Council.