Record turnout kicks off New Deal for Workers campaignUnion Matters May 14 2018
“Today marks the start of the fight to shift the balance of forces in the wider world of work and win a New Deal for Workers,” vowed CWU general secretary Dave Ward, after a remarkable and historic day for our union in central London on Saturday.
With thousands of bright pink T-shirts, hooters and lively music from start to finish, we were the loudest and liveliest contingent on the day – proudly taking our place alongside our comrades from the other great trade unions of the UK.
From early morning, coaches and trains brought thousands of CWU members down to the capital from all corners of the UK as our union gradually took over London’s Embankment and turned it into a sea of pink flags and tops.
Speaking to our contingent as we prepared to start the march, Dave said that “our union has been leading the way in saying not only do we represent our members – workers in post, telecoms and financial services – to the best of our ability, but we recognise that we’ve got to change the wider world of work.
“And if you look at the world of work today, the bogus self-employment and the record levels of in-work poverty – I can’t remember a time when workers, have ever been under as much pressure to work harder and faster for less,” our general secretary continued.
“If we’re going to change the balance of forces in the world of work, if we’re going to build a better life for our families, our children and our grandchildren, then we have to start connecting with all these other unions and we have to fight for a new deal for workers.”
Altogether, tens of thousands of activists, members and their families came to London from all walks of life – unions representing manufacturing workers, local authority staff, shop and retail employees, transport and education all marched together in an impressive display of unity and determination.
And the CWU – once again punching above our weight – turned out the largest mobilisation in our union’s history, with an estimated 3,000 joining our block, waving hundreds of flags and proudly parading a total of 44 CWU banners, representing branches and regions all over the UK, from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the North East, North West, Midlands, South West, South East, Eastern and London.
March organisers had hoped (and even prayed) for the great weather of the preceding week to continue and the day began brightly, keeping spirits up as we set off, creating a cacophony of noise as we marched under Embankment Bridge, before turning up Northumberland Avenue and onto Pall Mall.
Along Piccadilly, the rain started, but the chants, the hooting and flag-waving – and the great sounds from our very own CWU ‘beat-box’ – got all the louder, as our great union marched into Hyde Park.
The assembled crowd in the park heard lively speeches from Dave Ward, from several other union general secretaries, from the TUC leader Frances O’Grady and, to great enthusiasm, from our Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who roundly condemned the treatment of workers in this country and vowed that the next Labour Government will legislate against unscrupulous employment practices and create a new Ministry of Labour.
“It’s been a fantastic day,” said Dave Ward afterwards, adding: “I want to thank the CWU for the biggest turnout we’ve ever had on a demonstration,” said Dave Ward, adding that
“What I say to people is this, it doesn’t end today, bringing about real change is not a spectator sport. The trade union movement now has to step up and deliver a new kind of trade unionism and we have to make sure that we are leading that fight for a new kind of trade unionism.”