Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Workers from across Somerset converged on Taunton today to join a 2,000 strong protest against the Coalition Governments plans to devastate their pensions and trash public services. 
SDC Unison delegation in Taunton

A TUC 'Day of Action' had been called Nationwide with the turnout in Somerset   described as a "Fantastic response" by Unison Regional Organiser Helen Eccles

The march ,which started at the old Cattle Market , wended it's way through crowds of applauding shoppers in Tauntons town centre many of whom joined in as the demonstration approached them.

Glen Burrows from Bridgwater Trades Council and the RMT , addressed the marchers as they gathered at the start of their protest saying "This is not just a campaign to defend oublic sector pensions. It is a campaign for all pensions: state, private and public sector. It is saying to the Government loud and clear ! We will not pay for a crisis caused by bankers' greed and speculation. Hands off our pensions! Hands off our NHS! Hands off our schools! Hands off our Welfare State!"
Brian Smedley & Glen Burrows Bridgwater Trades Council

Bridgwater Labour Party members and Councillors joined the march today and supported the action by not crossing picket lines. Group Leader Cllr Mick Lerry carried the National Union of Teachers banner on the march whilst Group Secretary Cllr Brian Smedley ,walked alongside Sedgemoor Unison strikers. 

District Party Chair Cllr Kathy Pearce said " Public sector workers are being squeezed all ways - higher contributions to pensions and later retirement age.  In the meantime those of us working in public services are expected to bear the brunt of dealing with the consequences of the co-alition government's cuts to public spending.  The strength of today's protest and public support is testament to the strength of feeling that enough is enough. "
Labour Leader Mick Lerry with the N.U.T

At the culmination of the march -County Hall- speaker after speaker from many different Unions stressed the message of the day 

"The Unions want proper negotiations. The Government is storing up a crisis for the next generationof pensioners unless we win pensions justice for all now"

"Never be ashamed to stand up and fight for what is fair and just"

"People are here because they're angry. 700,000 job cuts in public services and pay cuts of 16% pay cut are making  moderates into militants!"
Speakers at County hall

"Today is about ordinary workers. in the NHS you're lucky if you leave with £4,000 pension - hardly gold plated!"

"It's not just pensions we;re fighting for it;s about the quality of life for ordinary workers, for a decent education system and for properly funded public services"

Unison said that 200 schools across Somerset were closed due to the strike action and even Tory Education secretary Michael Gove had to admit that 76% of state funded schools across the country were affected.

Schools, hospitals, courts, passport offices and ports were among the services disrupted.

The TUC said more women than ever before had taken part in the strike.

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