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Posted on 24 October 2010 at 13:18 GMT

Manchester anti-cuts rally

Manchester National Shop Stewards Netwrok protest against the cuts, photo Manchester Socialist Party

Manchester National Shop Stewards Netwrok protest against the cuts, photo Manchester Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Up to 100 trade unionists and community campaigners rallied in St Peter's Square on 23 October, organised by the Shop Stewards Network.

Hugh Caffrey, north west region Socialist Party

Afterwards, a democratic discussion was held and a demonstration was called for 8 December.

This is what the TUC should do but appears utterly incapable of at present - bringing workers and ordinary people together in opposition to the Con-Dems, on a clear basis of 'no cuts to jobs - no cuts to services - no cuts to incomes'.

The TUC seems to struggle to organise even a leafleting team! The demonstration and meeting both agreed to a day of protests on 8 December, when Manchester city council holds its next full meeting.

Despite pouring rain, Steve North of Salford Unison (personal capacity) opened the demonstration with a rousing call to action.

Andy Beehan of Manchester South RMT spoke about the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and challenging Labour-run authorities to not implement Con-Dem cuts.

National demonstration

Manchester National Shop Stewards Netwrok protest against the cuts, photo Manchester Socialist Party

Manchester National Shop Stewards Netwrok protest against the cuts, photo Manchester Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Gavin Hartley from PCS called for a national demonstration before Christmas to be organised by the left-led trade unions, followed by a public sector general strike.

Paul Gerrard of Bury NUT recounted the lessons of successful local community campaigns and the anti poll tax movement.

Speakers from community campaigns in Bolton to save services for disabled children, and from the threatened South Manchester Law Centre, received loud applause and support.

After the demonstration, some people went to the Right to Work protest at the BBC building. Others went to try to help the TUC's leafleting team, apparently 30-strong and moving round the city centre, but which appeared to have moved out of town altogether by midday!

The after-demonstrations public meeting by the Shop Stewards Network brought together trade unionists from across the union movement.

Andy Warnock-Smith (RMT regional secretary) and Sarah Robinson (PCS branch secretary) explained what the government spending review means; colossal cuts and a total absence of fairness!

Speakers from the floor contributed on how to oppose the cuts and the very important role the NSSN can play.

The meeting closed with the 8 December demonstration agreed, the 22 January NSSN conference strongly supported, and enthusiasm to fight all the cuts.

If the Trades Union Congress put one-tenth of the effort into opposing cuts that it puts into covering New Labour's backside, the turnout today would have numbered tens of thousands.

In the absence of any meaningful lead from the north west or national TUC, the Shop Stewards Network will assist communities and workers, support their struggles, and help build the generalised national strike action and mass mobilisations necessary to smash this rotten government to pieces.

The Shop Stewards Network fully supports this action and will mobilise for it.

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