Regional TUC protest and rally – Sheffield – 23rd October 2010

Coaches sponsored by the TUC, Unison and the PCS brought people from Leeds to attend the rally, organised by Yorkshire and Humber TUC. Up to 1,000 people gathered in front of Sheffield town hall to hear local and national speakers from unions and the Labour Party denounce the cuts. Anger was particularly targeted at Nick Clegg, deputy prime-minister and MP for Sheffield Hallam.

Sheffield protests in the rain

However, there was also some impatience from the crowd. Over and again, we were told to wait. Wait for the TUC national demonstration in March, wait until Labour is re-elected. Against this, a very vocal group chanted “We can’t wait” over and again, and called for a general strike. A little disappointment, as well, for many of the Leeds contingent, that the regional TUC had decided not to call a march. Some of us were lucky enough to have arrived in time to join a 350-strong feeder march of students down to the protest, but apart from that it was a static protest.

Read the report from the Sheffield Star.

1 Comment to Regional TUC protest and rally – Sheffield – 23rd October 2010

  1. matthew's Gravatar matthew
    26/10/2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    The organiser’s claimed 2000 people – but I’d agree with a figure of 1000.
    There’s a very interesting report in the latest ‘Socialist Worker: “The TUC’s regional rally in Sheffield last Saturday saw a sharp debate about the strength of the working class—and the kind of action we need to stop cuts.
    Some speakers argued for a long build up before calling mass protests or strikes.
    Unison NEC member and mental health nurse Sue Highton said, “Yes the trade unions will bring us out on strike, but when our members call for it.
    “In 1979 I could say, ‘Strike’, and they’d follow me. But I asked members at my workplace last week, would you come out on strike? Their answer at this point is no.”
    Many at the top of the unions use this argument as an excuse for not calling action.
    It’s true, some workers aren’t confident. But this can change quickly in struggle.
    Some workers at the rally chanted “general strike” between the speeches.
    Marion Lloyd from the PCS union won huge applause when she welcomed the TUC calling a national protest, but added, “March is too late—by then tens of thousands will have lost their jobs.
    “We need a demo now and a one-day general strike. Let’s bring France to the streets of Britain.”
    We don’t need to wait five months to step up the protests.Delay risks squandering the mood of anger against the Tories. But acting fast can give confidence to others to fight.