Category: 10 July Public Sector Strike

Public Sector Strike – Barnsley


It was a fine day for marching around Barnsley in support of public services and the pay of public sector staff.

The media machine has been in full swing today, bending over backwards to find those ‘inconvenienced and angry’ at the strikers. Aghast that trade unions and their members possess the temerity to demand a living wage during these austere times. Paving the way, smoothing public opinion for the raft of anti-trade union legislation to come. In much the same way as the crude hatchetting of benefit claimants ahead of the vicious wave of welfare reforms last year.

You will no doubt have heard many stories of the pampered public sector in the news today. However, since 2010 pay freezes have eroded the wages of public sector workers by as much as 15-20%. Now an under the rate of inflation 1% pay offer, kicks sand in the face of workers who are already  down, battered by the rising cost of living and increasing pension contributions for a far lesser return. Far from the Tory myth of a sector full of generous pay and gilt edged pensions.

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Barnsley is still struggling to recover from the loss of its main industry. The death of deep coal mining decimated Barnsley and it is still trying to pick its way out of the wreckage. The public sector is now one of, if not the largest employer in Barnsley. The loss of even just a few jobs hits the area hard, but the year upon year mauling handed out in the form of local authority funding cuts and real terms pay cuts, is holding any hope of a recovery for Barnsley back.

With this backdrop in mind, hundreds of public sector workers gathered in the shadows of the two monolithic structures of Westgate Plaza and Gateway Plaza, in which many council employees are stationed. Representatives of Unison, GMB, PCS, NUT, FBU and Unite came together, along with Barnsley Retirees Action Group and the Anti Bedroom Tax campaign, banners and flags flying to march together around the town centre. Also present in large numbers were the Freedom Riders, a group composed of Barnsley retirees, who have held a number of protests against the withdrawal of free travel for pensioners and the disabled in South Yorkshire.

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The march was followed by a rally with nearly a dozen speakers, representing the unions, the Freedom Riders and visiting trade unionists from Norway and Eastern Europe. All gave rousing speeches highlighting the attack on public services, led by the spectre of austerity.

The fundamental question is, why is there no money for public services? Austerity is not an accident, it is a construct that is designed to hoover wealth upwards and convert public money into private profit. A government hell bent on forcing through their neoliberal agenda, killing our public services while handing contracts to their wealthy friends, is the enemy of the people. The very people that governments are tasked to defend and protect.

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Our second enemy is apathy. Those colleagues that have given up, think that they can’t make a difference or have absorbed the propaganda pumped out by the main stream media on a daily basis, are the very people that crossed the picket lines today. Or even went on strike, but stayed at home. These are the people that we need to motivate, they too are our comrades but need our support and encouragement. We should not give up on them, as they too need protection and representation.

At a time when the government is the enemy of the people, we need unions more than ever.

Strike: 10 July 2014 BARNSLEY

A few photos from strike action around the region today, which Unite members attended in solidarity. Best chant of the day, (to the tune of Beastie Boys) “You’ve gotta strike, for your right, to faaaaaaaaiiir pay”!

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Public Sector Strike: 10 July 2014

Join millions of public sector workers across the UK who have had enough of having their pay frozen or capped.

Event Location: 11.30am, Barnsley Precinct, 1 Cheapside, Barnsley S70 1RU.

The march will assemble at 10:45am in Centenary Square with the rally taking place back in the Square, after the march has concluded.

Event Location:  Centenary Square, Market Street, Bradford BD1 1LH.

The march will assemble at 12 noon outside the Civic Offices in Nigel Gresley Square with the rally taking place back in the Square, on completion of the march.

Event Location:   Next to Civic Offices,  Nigel Gresley Square, Waterdale, Doncaster DN1 3BU.

Huddersfield TUC, in conjunction with trade unions, will be holding a day of action, including a march and rally on Thursday 10th July.

The march will assemble at St George’s Square from 10:30am with the march commencing at 11am.

Speakers will include:

Paul Holmes UNISON         Hazel Danson NUT         Neil Cole GMB
Layll Singleton UNITE         Trevor Andrews PCS      Daryl Schofield FBU
Chair Nick Ruff Huddersfield TUC

All are welcome.

Event Location: St George’s Square. Huddersfield HD1 2TA.

The march will assemble at 10am at the Unison Building with the rally taking place after the march into the city centre.

Event Location:  Unison Building, 39 Alfred Gelder Street, Hull HU1 2AG.


Event Location: 10.30am, St George’s Square, Huddersfield  HD1 1JA.

The march will assemble at 11:30am outside Victoria Gardens.

Event Location: Outside Victoria Gardens, The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AA.

11am Rally with speakers from UNITE, UNISON and GMB
Event Location:  Riverside House, Main Street, Rotherham  S60 1QYSHEFFIELD
The march will assemble at 11.30am at Devonshire Green, with the rally taking place at 1pm outside City Hall, Barkers Pool.

Event Location: City Hall, Barkers Pool S1 2JA.

12.30pm – Gather at Coronation Gardens next to County Hall to march.
1.00pm – Rally at Cathedral Precinct.
2.30pm – Strikers are invited for refreshments at Wakefield Labour Club (Red Shed) on Vicarage Street.

Event Location: Coronation Gardens, Wakefield  WF1 2QW.

The march will assemble at 12 noon at Clifford’s Tower with the rally taking place at 1pm at St Sampson’s Square.

Event Location: Clifford Tower, Tower St, York YO1 9SA.

11am: Assemble, Northumberland Road, next to City Hall
11.30am: March to the Blue Carpet, New Bridge Street
12.00noon – Speakers:
Clare Williams, Chair of the Public Services Alliance, UNISON Regional Convenor
Chris Jukes, GMB
Mike Routledge, Unite
Janice Godrich, PCS President
Andy Noble, FBU
Sarah Lake, Sunderland NUT Secretary

Event Location: Assemble, Northumberland Road (next to City Hall) NE1 8SF.