Friday, 25 March 2011

Sea of purple and green to snake through London on Saturday

Sea of purple and green

A carnival atmosphere, with brass bands, dragonfly stilt walkers, 4000 trumpets and tattoos, all decked out in green and purple, will snake its way through London’s streets on Saturday (26 March). 

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, will form the biggest group of people marching against the cuts, as tens of thousands of nurses, midwives, social workers, teaching assistants, blood transfusion staff and healthcare assistants make their way from all corners of the country, by train, plane, tube, boat and coach.

From even further afield, union representatives from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, will show their support for an alternative, fairer global approach to the economic crisis. The union leaders will take part in a round table discussion on Friday (25 March), highlighting the different approaches their countries have taken to the downturn.

The UNISON group will assemble from 11.00 am outside Embankment tube, with the march heading off to Hyde Park at 12 o’clock midday. UNISON, at the front of the trade union section, will be lead by giant purple inflatable’s and national banners.

Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said:

“Marching to the sound of a choir, brass bands, drummers, trumpets, rattles and whistles, a sea of purple and green ponchos, hats, t-shirts and flags will make its way through London on Saturday.

“Millions of lives have already, or will shortly be, touched by the Tory’s reckless plans. Tens of thousands of dedicated public service workers will vote with their feet, marching with family and friends to show their support for an alternative economic approach.

“We know the government has other choices – but the Tories are ideologically wedded to cutting back on vital local services and public sector jobs. This is not only a disaster strategy for our society – it is already hitting our chances of recovery. Instead of making cuts that close children’s centres, connexions offices and cut hospital beds, the Tory-led coalition should impose a Robin Hood Tax on banks, and make taxation fairer.”

Why UNISON members are marching

The Government’s own forecasts expect a total of 330,000 public service jobs to go because of the cuts – some economists estimate the toll will be much higher. This includes 50,000 job cuts from NHS trusts in England, and 140,000 jobs from councils in England.

Not only will this destroy our society, with vital services that provide a safety net for the poor, the sick and the vulnerable closing down, it will wreak havoc on our economy – hitting our chances of recovery.

At 2.5m unemployment is already at a 17 year high, and will keep on rising, inflation has hit a two-year high, and business and consumer confidence are already low. We do not accept the government’s mantra that cuts are the only way – this is a political choice and there is an alternative.

Instead of making cuts that are stretching the gap between the rich and poor, the government should use taxation and measures against the banks, including a Robin Hood tax, to spread the burden of the crisis, fairly.

Keeping up public spending on vital services would help us to recover from the recession, and help communities to pick up the pieces.

UNISON UK Press release 25 March 2011


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