Why Are You Protesting? The Union Rep

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 89 months ago
Why Are You Protesting? The Union Rep

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.

Why are you protesting on 26th March?
Because we are not going to put up with being made to pay for the bankers' 'crisis'.

What's the point? Protesting doesn't change anything.
Complaining and sitting back doesn't change anything - protesting does. The Government is having a real problem with the student fees issue, and it has stopped plans to sell off the Forestry Commission. Protests have clearly worked in removing dictators from Tunisia and Egypt - with more likely to follow.

Doesn't the UK have a massive debt? What's the alternative to cuts?
The wealth of the richest 1,000 UK residents increased by £70billion last year to £336billion. HSBC has announced profits of £12billion. Boardroom remuneration (pay, bonuses, shares) is up 17% on last year. At the same time, workers are being told to accept pay freezes or cuts, attacks on pensions, and the huge job cuts in the public sector mean fewer services that workers and the vulnerable rely on - child care, day care for the elderly and disabled, larger class sizes, NHS care being rationed.

The civil servants' union the PCS estimates £120 billion is evaded or avoided in tax by the rich and big business - yet the Government is cutting the Customs and Revenue staff who can ensure this money is paid. There is no need for cuts, even the Governor of the Bank of England recently said that the 'crisis' is being paid for by those who didn't cause it. The alternative is to tax the rich and big business, and give ordinary workers decent wages and pensions - we pay our taxes, and the money usually gets spent instead of hived off into a tax haven.

Merlin Reader is Secretary of Camden Trades Council and a Communication Workers Union rep. This article is written in a personal capacity.

Photo by Gaz-zee-boh from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 24 March 2011