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Public Sector Pensions Demo Bristol

7 July 2011

On the 30th June massive protests against the proposed changes to Public Sector Pensions from the Tory led coalition government took place around the country Regional Organiser Mike Wheeler reports on his experiences during the day in Bristol.

With an early start visiting picket lines from 7pm on a sunny day still slightly asleep I made my first visit of the day to a picket line. There were a few things of to note on all picket lines. The first was the high moral amongst the strikers and their determination to defend their pension. The 2nd was the lack of people crossing the line. The main thing that struck me was the high level of public support for what they were doing.

The public were bringing out cups of tea for the pickets and having conversations about how they had lost their pensions andwished there was someone to stand up and fight for them.

At 10:30 we assembled on College Green outside the Bristol City Council building already there was a great atmosphere building as people poured into the area. Teachers and Civil Servants spirits were lifted even higher as George Osborne’s comments rang true as they were all in it together, however not as he would have wanted them to think.
The march left college green and headed around the city Centre and through the shopping centre. Again the cheers from the public were deafening and were greeted with cheers back from the marchers. Half way round the march a splinter march joined the public sector workers made up of Benefit claimants and the disabled who wanted to show their support to the staff that work tirelessly to support them. This again led to mass cheers from all.

The march led to a rally at Castle Park that was addressed by various senior members of the Unions taking part and members of the Labour Party. All through this there was a festival atmosphere with members of the community there to support their children’s teachers, their Job centre workers and other people who many forget supply a very valuable public service to all of us. As a former Civil Servant it was great to see the biggest public demonstration in living memory in Bristol with over 5000 local people, public sector workers marching alongside students and the very people they work to help, school students, benefit claimants and disabled people who were showing that we really are all in this together – against the cuts

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