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N30 Birmingham: 15,000 join mass city-wide protest

Around 15,000 marched in Birmingham yesterday. Huge contingents of teachers, civil servants, careworkers, nurses and local government workers from across the West Midlands defied Birmingham City Council’s plan to stop the march from taking place. The Tory/Lib Dem coalition tried to impose charges of up to £10,000 on the TUC. The organisers refused to pay and the Council refused to authorise road closures. March stewards duly obliged as police were not officially involved and the march was a stunning sucess.

 

Over 3,000 strikers stayed behind to listen to union leaders speak at the National Indoor Arena. Brendan Barber, Tony Woodley and Dave Prentis were among the speakers and like everyone else were loudly cheered as they blamed the crisis on the bankers and demanded a Robin Hood Tax on bank bonuses. Unfortunately very little came from these leaders in terms of what kind of action will defeat the Tories on the pensions or the cuts in general just the usual ‘if negotiations are not successful then more action could follow’.

 

Pickets were outside of hundreds of workplaces in the morning. Strikers were tireless in their efforts to convince fellow workers to join the action. As at Handsworth Leisure Centre where strikers were also successfully convincing users to boycott the centre in solidarity with the pensions struggle. The main focus for anti cuts activity in Handsworth was on the City College picketline where over 40 lecturers, careworkers and local anti cuts campaigners (and Brendan Barber) gathered before moving off to the main march.

 

In nearby Sandwell the strike was solid with more than 200 schools closed and 90% of refuse workers refusing to turn up. Other boroughs in the West Midlands were also similarly in support of the strike.

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