Around 60 people joined a rally in support of pension strikes called by Keighley Trades Council, with members and speakers from all unions taking part in the strike except the ATL (whose members in the area had all converged on Bradford) as well as many that weren’t.
A Bradford Socialist Party member
The first speaker, Dave Burke, Assistant Secretary of the PCS DWP group and a Socialist Party member cut through some of the government lies around pensions, both in the public sector and the plans to raise the state pension age too.
Iain Dalton, Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) regional organiser and Socialist Party member pointed out the inspiration that the recent student movement had been many trade unionists and the need to link the energy and dynamism of young people into the trade union movement, highlight the upcoming Jarrow March organised by YFJ as an excellent opportunity to do this, several trade unionists in the crowd agreed pledging to raise it at their next branch meeting and make donations to support the march.
Several workers from the local hospital spoke about the effect of cuts and the Andrew Lansley’s bill aiming at the privatisation of the NHS with Jim Ryles of the local GMB branch explaining how Airedale Hospital bosses had given themselves a 100% pay rise whilst at the same time increasing staff car parking charges – another blow against the government’s lie that we are all in it together.
When local Labour councillor Keith Dredge spoke saying that the alternative to the Con-Dem cuts was to back the Labour party he was heckled by strikers calling out “What about Ed Miliband” referring to his comments in opposition to the strike. It was up to another Labour councillor, Doreen Lee, to step in to save him, calling for the rally to send a message to Ed Miliband asking him whose side he is on.
The rally ended on a high with regional UNISON official, Tony Pearson, highlighted the need for further, sustained and wider action to defend pensions, including private sector workers, repeating UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis’ recent words arguing for “The biggest wave of strikes , not since the miners strike, but since 1926”.