The people on the march
Following up March’s Put People First March for Jobs, Justice, Climate, this weekend has seen even more people on the streets, as the economic crisis worsens. About a third of a million people have taken part in trade union demonstrations around Europe, starting with 150,000 in Madrid on Thursday, followed by 50,000 in Brussels on Friday, and demonstrations today in Berlin, Birmingham and Prague with 140,000 other demonstrators.
Most of these five demonstrations were organised by the European Trade Union Confederation under the slogan Put People First that was borrowed from the broader-based London mobilisation ahead of the G20. General Secretary John Monks said
“We are calling for a New Social Deal in Europe, the foundation for more social justice and more and better jobs. The success of these Euro-demonstrations … is a clear signal that citizens’ concerns for their jobs and their future must be taken into account.”
The Birmingham demonstration, under the heading Unite for Jobs, drew 7,000 people including former CBI Director General Digby Jones (it must be a deep recession if the bosses are joining our marches!)
Such demonstrations are a potent symbol of working people’s frustrations, and they should remind politicians that the crucial test of any Government in a recession is how quickly and sustainably they can create jobs, and how much help they can give ordinary people until the economy returns to growth.