Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/518/3694
Police march for pay
AS PART of their battle against Brown's public-sector wage freeze the police held a demonstration of their own, with over 18,000 attending, in London on 23 January. Nobody was there in uniform and officers on duty were not allowed on the demonstration so the turnout was impressive under the circumstances.
This is in many ways a momentous occasion, since the last time they took any action over pay was 1919. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's decision to delay the 2.5% wage increase is a sore point with even this traditionally 'non-political' group of workers.
The police have been used many times to attack workers in struggle but this demonstration reflects the angry mood amongst all public-sector workers.
Socialist Party members got a mixed response but there was clearly a strong underlying anger at the government. Everyone we spoke to very much agreed with the idea of the need for joint public-sector action to beat the wage freeze.
One officer commented: "I used to be in the bricklayers' union and I believe in the right to strike". Another said: "I'm a socialist and I think what is happening in the public sector at the moment is a disgrace".
We sold five copies of The Socialist in 20 minutes and got three sheets of our petition for a living wage and joint public-sector action filled in.
Unusually compared to most demonstrations, the police did not talk the numbers down! And the Police Federation had to distance themselves from the presence of the BNP's London Mayoral candidate on the march.
In The Socialist 30 January 2008:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Debt and Housing Feature
Marxist analysis: history
Socialist Party workplace news