This Saturday, a lot of people will be marching through London to protest against government cuts. But that’s quite vague, so we asked a few people what exactly they’re protesting about.
What are you doing on 26th March?
I am protesting on 26th March to highlight that there is an alternative to cutting services and jobs. The deficit is an excuse. This country has had massive deficits for decades. What the Government is doing is dismantling as much as possible, so private companies can make a profit when they take over public services.
Current cuts in services and attacks on both pay and pensions have been actively encouraged by those private companies that are in line to secure contracts to take over public services. The more jobs cuts, the lower the pay and pensions, the greater the profits they stand to make.
Why protest? It doesn’t change anything.
Every employment right we enjoy at work (from flexi time to Maternity Leave), every piece of legislation that protects people from discrimination, and every public service from the NHS to leisure facilities have been won by protest.
What we are fighting to defend was not given to us by governments because they felt sorry for people, it was fought for and won by trade union members. When did doing nothing actually win or stop anything?
That's why I am and everyone else should be marching on 26/03/11.
Doesn’t the UK have a massive deficit? What’s the alternative to cuts?
I believe it is wrong to attack the poor and vulnerable and to remove essential services. The alternative is to spend money creating jobs and improving services. This has been consistently demonstrated as the best economic approach during any recession.
The expenditure could easily be funded if big busineses actually paid the taxes they currently avoid. This is not an insignificant sum: £120 billion a year in taxes goes unpaid. A more detailed explanation of this is contained in the PCS pamphlet "There is an Alternative".
Tony Reay has worked in job centres for 26 years, and is a trade union rep for the Public and Commercial Service Union South East London branch.