On Thursday 19 March demonstrations took place across the region against Benefit Sanctions. Below are photos and reports from a number of the demos.

Photos from Barnsley, Hartlepool, Stockton and Leeds.

Media story in Teeside Gazette Live.


Good demo in Barnsley. Almost 40 marched round town to Job Centre. 16 Freedom Riders came and joined in demonstration saying that they were opposed to cuts this Tory government is making against pensioners, unemployed and trade unionists.Lively rally outside job centre where a claimant who had been sanctioned came forward and described his experience and received applause for his courage in speaking out.

(Report by George Arthur)


Video from Halifax.


About 40 people attended a protest rally against benefit sanctions in the town centre today. It was organised by the local Unite/Community Branch,  which is for people who are unemployed in the community.

Our protest was one of 77 actions taking place throughout the country as part of a National Day of Action Against Benefit Sanctions organised by Unite /Community.

There were a range of speakers who all emphasised the punitive and arbritary nature of the sanctions against claimants that can result in them being without their benefits for anything from 4 weeks to 3 years.

The speakers also stressed the need to keep up the campaign against benefit sanctions and all the other government attacks on welfare.

Speakers included, Nick Ruff, Chair of Kirklees Unison, Jane East, prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour for the Colne Valley, Mike Forster, prospective parliamentary candidate for Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) for the Huddersfield constituency.

Speakers who are unemployed described their personal experiences.

Karl Dallas, a member of Unite/Community, played his guitar and everyone joined in an anti-sanctions song that he had written especially for the occasion. Robin Bowles, on his accordian, added an uplifting feel to the whole event.

The rally was chaired by, June Jones, Chair of the Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield Branch of Unite/Community.

The next Unite/Community Branch meeting is on Tuesday 7 April at the Brian Jackson Centre from 11am to 1pm.

(Report by June Jones)