Four thousand workers and youth marched for socialism through central London on May Day yesterday.
Led by the May Day Organising Committee banner there were trade union delegations and banners from SE Region TUC, striking TGWU Shelter workers, RMT Finsbury Park and RMT Leeds City, GMB, Newham NUT, NUJ Book Branch and the POA.
NUT President Bill Greenshields told the Trafalgar Square rally the teachers’ ‘fight for pay will continue in the parliament arena and without it’.
He warned: ‘The attacks on pay are a softening up for privatisation.’
He said: ‘We want education for millions not for millionaires.’
Along the route of the march there was big support for the 250 strong Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists, and YSSS contingents with their revolutionary slogans, and for the contingents of Chagos Islanders and TGWU sacked Gate Gourmet workers.
There was also a delegation from the Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group.
A large number of Kurdish and Turkish workers made up the rest of the march from Clerkenwell to a rally at Trafalgar Square.
The lively WRP and YS contingent shouted ‘Defend the NHS, Kick the government out!, Defend free education, No to academies!, Defend council housing, kick out the privateers! End cheap labour, kick the government out!, Victory to Iraq, imperialism out!, Youth demand a future, kick the government out!, Victory to Palestine, imperialism and Zionism out!, Down with imperialism, victory to world revolution!’
The Chagos islanders chanted ‘We will return to Diego Garcia, its our right’ while the sacked Gate Gourmet workers shouted: ‘Victory to Gate Gourmet workers, no slave labour’.
Student Ali Nyazi told News Line: ‘My main cause is to demonstrate against imperialism, especially the wars against Iraq and Palestine.
‘If the government doesn’t listen workers should bring it down.’
Lynette St Aimee and Jackie Elliott from the Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group said: ‘We want to see no more crane deaths. We want a change in legislation.
‘We want a central crane register and have them properly inspected, and more resources for the HSE.
‘We want proper justice. employers who are negligent should face criminal manslaughter charges and face jail.’
RMT tube worker Adrian Finney said: ‘We’re facing large scale cuts in the future.
‘We are about to enter a dispute with our RMT cleaners. They earn even less than the £7.20 an hour minimum wage as declared by the mayor, and they work in appalling conditions with considerable harassment from management.’
Shelter workers TGWU shop steward Elizabeth O’Hara told News Line: ‘We are on strike today. We are workers in struggle on May Day and have come directly from the picket line.
‘We’re fighting cuts and downgrading and standing in unity with other workers today.’
Visiting French student Christie Chery said: ‘We have been marching in France against the reforms the government wants to bring in and the sacking of 11,000 teachers.’
Alba Asensi, Cambridge YS said: ‘I’m angry because there is no future under this system. We need to get rid of this government and get a socialist government for the people.’
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