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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 April 2016

Save BIS Sheffield: we won't be a Northern Poorhouse!

Marching against BIS Sheffield closure, 9.4.16, photo by Alistair Tice

Marching against BIS Sheffield closure, 9.4.16, photo by Alistair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Alistair Tice

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell described Sheffield as the City of Resistance. It certainly felt like it on 9 April as 700 people marched around the city centre before listening to speeches at a city hall rally.

The demonstration was called by the PCS civil servants union which is fighting to save the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) office in Sheffield from closure and the loss of 250 jobs.

BIS is the very government department charged with responsibility for economic growth and the Northern Powerhouse agenda. Tory Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, wants to close the Sheffield office and move it to London. You couldn't make it up!

But the march became a rallying point of opposition for all those suffering attacks from this Tory government: civil servants, steelworkers, junior doctors, teachers facing academisation and, noticeably, groups of young people attracted by the anti-austerity movement.

The crowd applauded speeches from PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka and John McDonnell - how refreshing to hear a Labour Party leader say he was proud to stand on picket lines with junior doctors and others fighting Tory attacks.

It was also great that several Labour councillors stood on the city hall steps in support of the BIS campaign - but all the more disappointing that they are passing on Tory cuts with 400 redundancies announced in this year's council budget.

Marion Lloyd, who herself faces redundancy at the Sheffield office, is the president of the PCS BIS group and a Socialist Party member. In her speech, Marion said: "How can anyone trust Sajid Javid to help the steelworkers when he wants to sack another 4,000 civil servants in his own department?"

"Fight together"

She said: "There are two ways of doing things. The Cameron, Osborne, Javid way of looking after number one - that's the Tory, big business capitalist way. And there's our way - we unite together, fight together, win together."

Marion welcomed the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader but said: "We cannot wait until a general election in 2020. We must build solidarity now towards a general strike."

To the biggest applause of the day Marion ended her speech by saying: "Yes we want Cameron to resign, but not just Cameron. We want the downfall of the whole bloody lot. Let's show these Tories, these capitalists, what a Northern Powerhouse really looks like - let's bring them down."

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In The Socialist 13 April 2016:


Panama Papers

Panama Papers reveal corrupt system of the 1%

Austerity not needed

Reactionary EU campaigners implicated by Panama Papers

Another Fifa corruption scandal

Houses for offshore investment, we're stuck at home


Socialist Party workplace news

Nationalise to save all Steel jobs

Save BIS Sheffield: we won't be a Northern Poorhouse!

RMT branch calls for TUSC backing to continue

Doctors fight on against imposed contracts

Construction workers defend jobs and pay

Workplace news in brief


Review: Militant by Michael Crick

Review: 'Militant' by Michael Crick


Refugees

Solidarity with refugees: fight for jobs, homes and services for all

Campaigning for scholarships for refugees - and free education for all


International socialist news and analysis

France: full-scale struggle with government is erupting

Bangladesh: stop the Rampal power project

Brazil: solidarity with attacked civil servants

International Panama Papers protests


EU referendum

Bosses back EU to boost NHS sell-offs


Socialist Party campaigns

Library occupation ends with march on cutting council

Sales of the Socialist on the rise, read all about it!

No A-level courses in Knowsley thanks to 'academies' system

Workers and youth unite to defend vital services

"Not the church, not the state - women must decide their fate!"


Defend the NHS

Huddersfield A&E fightback grows

Demonstration to defend the NHS in Leicester

Worcestershire: hands off our health service!


Comment

Letter: Women and work


 

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