Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Newcastle: hundreds rally against cuts

Thanks to Tony Dowling for this report:

Up to 300 people, many of them public sector trade unionists, rallied against cuts in Newcastle today.

They gathered in the wake of this afternoon's spending review announcements, united in their determination to stop George Osborne's drastic cuts to services and welfare. Earlier, lunch time protests took place in nearby South Shields and Sunderland.

Clare Williams, chair of Northern Public Services Alliance, told protestors: "Today is the start of the fightback. We will smash this government." The alliance organised the protest, supported by trade unions, Coalition of Resistance and others.

Kevin Rowan, TUC regional secretary, warned: "We are going to see services reduced throughout the public sector". Tom Brennan of the GMB union noted that the cuts will damage the private sector too: "Every job is important - the private sector is not immune."

Veronica Killen of the UCU lecturers' union highlighted the devastating scale of cuts to university funding. She said: "The Browne review must be stopped. It is the privatisation of higher education."

Kenny Bell of Unison said: "Whole families are worrying about losing their jobs. Cameron is wrong when he says we're all in it together, but ordinary working class people are in it together." He predicts 1000-2000 jobs could be slashed in Newcastle Council.

Fran Heathcote, from the pubic sector PCS union, said "The North East was decimated by the last Tory government. Cameron is doing the same." She added: "If the super rich paid more, there would be no need for cuts. We're not all in this together."

Locally the next major event in the anti-cuts calendar is the public meeting, called by Tyne and Wear Coalition of Resistance, on Wednesday 3 November. The meeting starts at 7pm, at Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road.


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