May Day March & Rally 2018

Workers marching

Along with millions upon millions of working people Bristol workers will be raising the Red Flag, on Tuesday 1st May 2018, in honour of the international working class day that is the spirit of determination, solidarity and resistance.

Mobilise your members, families and friends to join this major day for workers. Bring your Trade Union and labour movement banners.

Assemble 12:00am
on Tuesday 1st May
at Castle Park
March, with the Musicians Union Band, through
Broadmead to a Rally at Castle Park
12:00 Assemble at Castle Park
12.15 March round Broadmead with the Musicians Union Band
13.00 Rally in Castle Park
Brendan Kelly (RMT Regional Organiser)
James Davies (PCS Organiser)
Lucy Langley- Palmer (UCU)
Evangelia Mitsiakou (KKE)

A leaflet advertising the march & Rally can be found here – Leaflet May Day 2018

Organised by Bristol Trades Union Council Trades Union Councils' emblem

One comment

  1. In an event to celebrate, International Workers Day – May Day, trade unionists from PCS, Unison, UCU, Unite, GMB, NEU, RMT marched around Broadmead, led by the Bristol Trades Union Council banner and a band from the Musicians Union.

    Bristol on the May Day march 2018

    The march concluded with a rally in Castle Park which was opened by Simon Crew President of Bristol Trades Union Council. Simon introduced the speakers Brendan Kelly from RMT, James Davies from PCS, Lucy Langley-Palmer from the UCU, Kev Terry Unite Regional Chair and South West TUC Regional chair and Evangelia Mitsiakou from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

    The speakers gave updates on –

    • the ongoing dispute with the train operators to protect the guards on the trains.
    • the recent success in the universities in the fight against the bosses intention to destroy the pension scheme;
    • the civil servants union PCS intention to recommend a national ballot for a fully funded above inflation pay rise
    • Greece and the eastern Mediterranean;
    • the dangers the workers face by the proposed merger of Sainsbury and Asda.

    Brendan Kelly – RMT

    In addressing the rally Brendan pointed out that the RMT is in the midst of a massive battle with the Tory government, Network Rail and with the train operating companies to get protection for our guards on trains. If this dispute, with the six train operators, had happened prior to privatisation it would have been a national dispute if there was a threat to the guards.

    Brendan said “that the guards have the main safety role on the trains. The driver is supposed to drive the trains. The guards are there to protect the passengers and ensure the safety of the train.

    He reminded us that “Of the two serious accidents that have occurred in this region Ladbroke Grove and Southall where the guard actually got down onto the track and put protection on the track to stop other trains coming in to the crashed train. You wouldn’t have had that if you hadn’t had a guard, you need a guard with that safety knowledge and that safety expertise

    Brendan went on to say that “Organised labour is what protects us. We can look to change the laws, we can even change governments but the truth is that trade unions will always be our strength and organisation on the shop floor and our ability to organise workers on the ground, to elect good shop stewards and to train them and actually then to stand up to the employers. Under this society that is what we must never let go off, we will campaign for a labour government, but the employers will still be out there attacking our members. We must remain vigilant and remain organised.

    James Davies at the May Day Rally 2018

    James Davies – PCS on left of picture above.

    James stated that “The government doesn’t value what the workers in the Civil Service do. These workers haven’t had a pay rise in ten years, numbers have been slashed by thousands and those that are left are under huge workplace pressures and faced with more and more punitive management practices.

    He said “Putting a value on what people do can be hard, but we’ve got members working in HMRC in Bristol and across the South West who each bring in just under a £1million a year. The money they bring in in tax revenues is the money that’s needed for cash strapped or cash staved hospitals, schools emergency services and everything from road maintenance and all these services we so direly need that we’re told that there’s not money for. Well how can the government tell us that there’s not money for that when you’ve got members of staff bringing in almost £1million a year wouldn’t you have thought that the government employ more of those people. No they haven’t done that but cut them by almost a half in the last ten years, they’ve slashed 40,000 HMRC staff. So when the government turns around to you and says it’s because the Labour government a decade ago spent too much, it’s not a crisis in spending it’s a crisis in the government not being tough enough on tax avoiders on tax evaders and not willing to employ people to tackle that.

    James said that “PCS values what our members do and that is why later on this month we’re be debating at our annual conference a motion that recommend balloting our members at national level on taking industrial action for a fully funded above inflation pay rise. We have to act now, this year has to be the year that all public sector workers get a decent above inflation pay rise. We are sick of seeing our members having to rely on food banks.

    He then pointed out that “PCS members who deliver universal credit have to rely on universal credit. One in seven children who live in a household with a public sector worker as a parent is now living in poverty. It’s a shame that the government isn’t as serious about meeting target on eradication child poverty as they are about deportations.

    Lucy Langley-Palmer – UCU

    Lucy “Thanked all of the fellow unions for supporting the recent UCU strike. Whether you donated to our hardship fund, visited us on the picket lines or simply sent us messages of support. Your expression of solidarity and comradeship made all the difference to us and helped us to be strong during those four weeks. So thank you.

    She told how the strike came about “Our employers wanted to axe our pension and fob us of with a defined contribution deal which would have seen most of us thousands pounds worse off in our retirement if indeed we were ever able to retire. In record numbers we voted for industrial action. All over the country university workers downed tools to fight for our right to a decent pension.

    Lucy went on to warn us that “We’re not quite out of the woods just yet, the dispute is still ongoing. We’ve forced major concessions from the employers and they are left in no doubt as to our strength and power of our union. As workers we have a new sense of purpose, we are a force to be reckoned with. At Bristol University this strike has been transformative for many of us in our working lives, our fellowship and unity on the picket line has evolved into a lasting bond, it has enabled us to connect with other union members and to build a real community across the divide of different departments or different roles. This community consists not only of existing union members but hundreds of new members who were inspired to join during the strike to take action and stand with us on picket lines.

    She told us that the “Bristol University Vice Chancellor has called this strike a lightning rod for many other issues and on that at least we do agree with him. People have been angry for a long time about the way they are treated as university workers and now they have found that they are not alone. We are emboldened, we have built ourselves a strong platform from which we are challenging senior managers on issues such as gender pay cap, casualisation of staff, pay and progression and everyday issues that have a huge impact on our members such as the working day, term and holiday dates if handled badly can mean that staff who are also parents don’t get to spend any meaningful time with their families these are decisions that make real differences in peoples lives and their relationships outside of work. With our new found strength and our new members our voice is louder and we are being heard we are making a difference. The story of our strike is universal, big bosses thinking that they can get away with squeezing more and more out of the workers, pay us less, inflate their own salaries, cut our benefits, increase their profits it’s all about their bottom line. Turning students, patients or passengers into customers. Workers no longer seen as people but as a resource to be deployed, to be silenced and to be utilised. Well we’re not taking it any more.

    Lucy expressed her “hope that the success of our resistance will serve as a beacon of hope for other unions a symbol of what is possible and something to build from if there is this much power in one union how much power is there if we all unite we must fight back together against the pernicious power of the profit margin, against marketisation against the weaponisation of public services. In any struggle yet to come we will reciprocate that support and solidarity that you offered to us if we support each other we can effect real social change.

    Evangelia Mitsiakou – Communist Party of Greece (KKE)

    Evangelia brought greetings from the Greek people and pointed out that May Day is an “International workers day, a day of class struggle, it is a landmark in the workers struggle all over the world where we commemorate the workers who sacrificed their lives. Today we continue to fight for work to satisfy our needs with free time and social security in order to live in a world without exploitation, wars and refugees.

    She told us that “This year our party concentrates on developments in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean and stresses it’s increasing concern about the imperialist control of resources, energy routes and markets and strategic areas. This year also the Greek people remember the sacrifices they have made during the last nine years of the capitalist crisis where they were asked to support the so-called economic development.

    Evangelia proposed that “Here in the UK people must also disengage from monopoly interests and refuse to support the different interests of capitalism. The fact that trade unions in the UK direct the peoples indignation against the Tory government and in favour of the labour party only leaves the people fighting under a foreign flag not for their own interests.

    She pointed out that “We the workers produce everything from commodities to services and we need to make this clear. A Tory, a Labour government or even a left government like in Spain the same rule applies, capitalism means class struggle and exploitation, capitalism means relative and absolute poverty, capitalism means war.

    Evangelia said that “all the conditions are in place for reduced working time and increased free time, free for all education, health care, housing, cultural activities and sports, for salaries and pensions to satisfy peoples needs.

    She told that “Here in Britain members of the Communist Party of Greece KKE and the Communist Youth of Greece not only express our solidarity to the struggles of the movement but also that our members are an integral part of it. Recently our members have been actively participating in the UCU strikes we also there in supporting the mobilisation in support of the junior doctors last year.

    Evangelia asked us to “Let’s organise our solidarity in every workplace, we need to come closer to our colleagues irrespective of their national origins, we need a movement that realises that it creates all the wealth, a movement that is up against the governments and employers, the movement that is for trade unionism, a movement that understands that it is either the monopolies or us. Finally we express our solidarity with the people of Syria and the other peoples of the Middle East region.

    She called “upon the working class and other popular struggles to reinforce the struggle against Imperialism, the USA and the EU to reinforce the struggle against the participation of Britain in Imperialist wars, the dissolution of NATO and other imperialist alliances.

    She reminded us of the workers message of solidarity “Workers of all the world unite.”

    Kev Terry Unite Regional Chair and South West TUC Regional chair

    Kev brought solidarity greetings from Unite and spoke of our responsibility to carry on the fight for the workers

    He alerted us to the previous days news that Sainsbury and Asda were planning to amalgamate and that on the previous nights news programme one of the Chief Executive Officers was singing his song we’re in the money.

    Kev warned the rally that “you can see why these conglomerates amalgamate, they want to get the money in their pockets and to hell with the workforce.

    He pointed out that “unions tend to amalgamate to give the workers the strength to fight these people and we need to keep that strength up and to be able to grow our unions in whichever way we can and make sure that they are held to account to account for the policies.

    He reminded us that a previous speaker James Davies had told the rally “about members who are on poverty line, but it’s not just PCS members, the Police are also on the poverty line and they have to go to the food banks to help them get by during the week.

    Kev said that “The Tories seem rather pleased that they created these food banks they should be ashamed of themselves. We’ve seen people come to together to oppose the Tories and the conglomerates that they represent. We must keep up that fight.

    Trade Union banners at the May Day Rally 2018


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