May Day March & Rally 2019

Workers marching

Along with millions upon millions of working people Bristol workers will be raising the Red Flag, on Wednesday 1st May 2019, 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 Wednesday 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)
Steve Turner (Unite Assistant Gen. Sec.)
Nicola Bowden-Jones (Kingswood Labour PPC)
Roger Thomas (PCS)

A leaflet advertising the march & Rally can be found here – Leaflet May Day 2019

Organised by Bristol Trades Union Council Trades Union Councils' emblem


  1. On May 1st last week trade unionists, Labour Party members, Socialists and Communists marched through Bristol’s main shopping streets to a rally at Castle Park.

    Roger Thomas (PCS) demanded that the first thing on the order book of an incoming labour government must be to get rid of all anti trade union legislation and that trade unions must fight to ensure that pledge is actually honoured.

    Nicola Bowden-Jones, the prospective parliamentary Labour Party candidate for Kingswood, also spoke about the need to protect the rights of workers when she said that Labour will give equal rights from day one whether full time, part time or temporary protecting workers from discrimination.

    A speaker the Bristol’s Kurdish solidarity network brought a message of support highlighting that May Day is an historical day for the working class and has great importance for the revolutionary movement world wide.

    The message asked for the rally’s solidarity in support of thousands of people across the world who are on hunger strike calling for an end to the isolation of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish people’s elected representative in the peace process.

    Chair of the Bristol branch of NUJ spoke about the recent death of Lyra McKee and reminded all about the dangerous circumstances that journalists can find them selves in when trying to do their job.

    Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary of Unite the Union opened by exclaiming how fantastic it was to be holding a demonstration for May Day on May Day and went on to say that it is really important to recognise, and remind all, that May Day is Labour Day.

    Steve reminded those at the rally that 133 years ago, on May 1st, Chicago mounted police tore apart striking workers and mowed down people with many workers being killed. Steve said that as a consequence of that demonstration, in Chicago, we got May Day.

    Steve said that we must never forget our history. He spoke about the struggles taking place in Bristol at the same time as the police attack on workers in Chicago. In particular Steve mentioned the Bristol gas workers, mainly women, fighting for an 8 hour day, they went on strike along with others in London and Manchester and won the 8 hour day and better rates of pay.

    He said that organised labour have always recognised that as individuals we can do very little to improve our conditions whether that be at work, a decent home, a health service, free education, an end to fuel poverty and pensioner poverty, an end to zero hour contracts or the raising of collective bargaining to replace the pittance of a minimum wage.

    The Assistant General Secretary of Unite the Union said that whatever the struggle we do it collectively and we do it in a united way through our trade unions and that it’s incredible important we never forget that we are stronger together than we’re ever be divided and apart.

    In remarking on the local elections taking place the next day, Steve said that we must take these battles into the political arena as well. For all those people who feel abandoned by politics, not listened to, it’s our duty to fight against the far right. He asked everybody at the rally to take a message back into their workplaces to defeat the rise of the very dangerous divisive, hateful and spiteful message of division and racism

    Mr Turner asked those at the rally take the message back into your homes, into your workplaces on to the buses and back into your communities that it’s only when we’re well organised, when we’re standing in unity together, black and white, men and women, gay and straight. It doesn’t matter who you are the struggle is your struggle of working class politics to better and improve society for all of us.

    Steve concluded that under a Jeremy Corbyn Labour government that’s exactly what we strive to do. It’s not about the individual it’s about all of us winning the politics of ideas to build a better society, a fairer economy, a better politics that engages and involves all of us in building a better fairer society and a better world.


  2. Whilst millions of workers around the world will be celebrating May Day very few will be out in Bristol due to the extremely strange decision to always have it in the middle of the day on a work day.

    Last year there were less than 60 of us, and it’s difficult to see how this year will be any different. The Bristol area has around 100,000 trade union members. Why not hold the May Day rally at a time they can actually attend, (I.e. at the weekend or after 5:30 pm in the week).

    Last year Wells had 300 people at their may day rally as it wasnt at a time when the majority of working people were working. It seems so obvious that if you’re doing an event celebrating trade unions and the struggles of working people you’d have at a time when people who work can actually make it.

    It’s probably too late to change now but this will be the 4th pitifully attended mid day non weekend may day rally I’ve been too now and it’s just a bit depressing. Please, please, please for next year consider having it at a sane time so we can make May Day a vibrant celebration of the strength of our movement and not just a meeting point for a handful of retirees and whoever works close enough to nip out on their break.


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