Thousands of people march UK streets over pay protests
Tens of thousands of public sector workers took part in street protests through central London yesterday to highlight the need for pay to increase.
Simultaneous protests took place in Glasgow and Belfast, with teachers, nurses, civil servants and hospital workers lining the streets, opposing the government’s below-inflation 1% pay offer for public sector workers, demanding rise in national minimum wage and living wages, asking assurance for caps to be placed on extortionate executive salaries.
Many of those protesting had also been on strike this week, including midwives, who were striking for the first time ever.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC), which organised the protests under the slogan “Britain Needs a Pay Rise”, proclaims that between 80,000 and 90,000 people took part in the London march, though this is yet to be independently confirmed.
The slogan became a trending hashtag on Twitter during the protest with people using it to tweet pictures and videos of the protest or support the marchers from afar.
The Metropolitan Police noted that London’s march was “peaceful and well-organised”. Harry Leslie Smith, 91, who had the Labour conference in tears over his speech praising the NHS, was a speaker at the TUC rally.
He stated: “The march for fair wages may have just began but as long as our strides are in solidarity with all those we have suffered under austerity we may reach the end of our journey by next year’s general election.”
The TUC has revealed that people are currently facing the biggest squeeze on their incomes since Victorian times and that average wages have “fallen by £50 a week in real terms since 2008”.
However, a Treasury spokesman said: “Under this government we’ve seen the largest annual fall in unemployment, more people in work than ever before and inequality lower than the average under the previous government, proving that the government’s long-term economic plan is working.”
Hospital radiographers and prison officers will take part in further strikes the coming week as part of the same dispute.