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Thousands join People’s Assembly Against Austerity

23 August 2013

Over 4,000 trade unionists and anti-cuts activists gathered in Westminster Central Hall to launch a new national movement against the government’s economically and socially damaging austerity policies.

The TSSA was well represented with dozens of members in attendance. General secretary Manuel Cortes spoke on combatting climate change by building a greener economy with a shift of investment to rail and public transport.

Over a dozen workshops covered a wide range of issues, from NHS cuts to housing, around which the movement aims to bring people together to put an alternative agenda to the cuts of the Tory-led government. The audience, one of the largest gatherings of trade unionists and campaigners in decades, heard from columnist Owen Jones, comedian Mark Steel and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, amongst others.

TSSA treasurer Andy Bain reports, ‘One of the next steps from the day is to organise for the 29 September demonstration to ‘Save our NHS’ at the Tory Conference in Manchester. All our members and their families will be affected by NHS privatisation. If it is allowed to go ahead families may in the future be faced with having to sell their homes to treat a serious illness or just accept their fate.’

Andy adds, ‘Local People’s Assembly groups will be planning activities for 5 November, called as a day of action around the UK. Many local groups are already listed on the People’s Assembly website, but if there’s not one near you, why not set one up, perhaps based around your local trades council?’

‘Austerity does not work, least of all for the vast majority who are not the richest in society. There is a growing movement that we can be part of – not just to resist cuts (like the recent overturning of the decision to close Lewisham Hospital) but to build a better alternative. The more of us who get involved, the stronger the movement will be.’

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