6 May 2013
The May Day Unite the Resistance in West Yorkshire May Day Rally was great. Around 100 people attended and listened to a range of local activists who are challenging Austerity. Liz Kitchen spoke passionately about the effects of the Bedroom Tax in Leeds and how the “Hands Off Our Homes” Group have continued to build resistance culminating in a Leeds demo of well over 1,000 people.
Paul Holmes speaking at Leeds Unite the Resistance May Day event
Adrian O’Malley the steward who had helped lead the opposition to down banding in 3 local Hospitals controlled by Mid Yorks Trust outlined that the branch wide ballot was the next step in escalating action. The 6 days of strike action maybe followed by a much wider dispute in the near future. Paul Holmes, speaking in a personal capacity, brought the house down with his funny and devastating diatribe against Thatcher and her legacy calling for a much stronger response from the Labour Leadership.
Richard Raftery from Leeds NUT outlined the attacks faced by Teachers and pupils from Gove’s assault on Pay Conditions and Pensions. The 1950’s narrow minded curriculum is set to return and the Academies and Free Schools are leading to an increasing privatised service. Richard invited staff, parents, pupils and governors to a Rally in Leeds on the 11th May.
Mark Serwotka at Leeds Unite the Resistance
Ann Marie Piso brought us upto date with the cuts to language teaching at Leeds Met University. Longstanding and valuable courses are under threat as a result of reduced funding for the University. A UCU petition was circulated.
Finally Mark Serwotka from the PCS went into detail about his unions proposals that are a challenge to the whole basis to Austerity. Taxing the rich, scapping Trident and other simple measures would enable the economy to grow.
He welcomed the recent debates on the left to look into forming a political response to austerity. Speakers from the floor called for support against the EDL visit to Leeds on Saturday. Abley chaired by Jane Aitchison, the speakers and the audience had a great night. Unite the Resistance in West Yorkshire took another step forward.
Jane Aitchison chairing the rally