15 March rallies roundup

More than half a million workers struck today and rallied in cities across Britain. Teachers, junior doctors, civil servants, university workers, tube drivers, Amazon workers, journalists and more are fighting for better conditions, and against repressive anti-strike legislation. UCU, NEU, PCS, RMT, NUJ, BMA, Prospect, ASLEF, GMB and HCSA were out in force. rs21 members report.

a colourful March with blue NEU banners going through streets in London
NEU march through London, 15 March 2023. Photo credit: Andy O

 

London

Over 50,000 striking workers converged on London today for a joint strike rally on the biggest day of strike action in Britain in decades. Striking NEU members bussed in from all over the country in over 200 coaches and streamed into a march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. The march took the roads in Central London and energy was high, with chants of ‘what do we want? More pay!’ and ‘hey Rishi, you so tight, you so tight we have to strike, hey Rishi!’

The back of the march was still at Piccadilly circus while the rally was in full flow and Trafalgar Square was full. Blocs from PCS, UCU, the BMA and others joined the huge ranks of teachers, with PCS joining from a second march from Embankment to Trafalgar Square.

a square full of people rallying around the strikes
London rally, 15 March 2023. Photo: Charlotte Powell

 

picket at Shooters Hill College.
Shooters Hill college closed with picketing in South London. Many of the pickets travelled into London for the huge protest march.

Carlisle

UCU picket in Carlisle, 15 March 2023.

In Carlisle rs21 members started by joining hardy PCS strikers in the freezing cold to show support and discuss next steps for their strike.

Next they joined the lively UCU picket where strikers were cheerful despite the minus 2 degree temperatures when it started! Kids got an education talking to all the striking educators (while dancing in the cold) and had great fun competing to see who get get the most cars to honk!

The mood was upbeat and the strikers were settling in for a long week of cold, rainy picketing. Hot drinks will be welcome!

In both pickets the topic of a trade union anti-fascist movement was discussed. 

NEU Lancashire and NEU Cumbria got an early train to London, arriving at Euston ready to march.

NEU Lancashire and NEU Cumbria ready to march in London, 15 March 2023.

 

Edinburgh

UCU / PCS rally in Edinburgh, 15 March 2023.

Workers in UCU and PCS rallied in Edinburgh, UCU activists angry with the manoeuvres by UCU’s General Secretary and the bureaucracy. A speaker from STUC inspired with talk of pay victories in other sectors in Scotland.

Glasgow

A rally in Glasgow at Buchanan Steps, 15 March 2023.

Comrades in the Glasgow branch attended the strike day rally held at Buchanan Steps by the STUC, UCU, PCS and RMT unions. The atmosphere was great and the speakers echoed the general atmosphere of optimism about the strikes. Each speaker highlighted the ability of workers to fight and win against the employers and the State in the wake of bills expanding repression.

Manchester

March in Manchester, 15 March 2023. Photo: Derek F

Manchester saw about 2,000 people march to St Peters Square. PCS and UCU banners were very visible. Good, political speech from a young doctor who captured the mood of anger and determination to carry on not just for better pay, but to protect public services for the most vulnerable in society.

Oxford

UCU strike in Oxford, 15 March 2023.

UCU called today’s strike rally in Oxford, with speakers from the Trades Council and striking unions. The mass of pickets took the five free buses to the London demo.

Bristol

PCS and UCU rally in Bristol, 15 March 2023. Photo: Seb C

In Bristol speakers came from unions, TUC and trades council. The final act was a performance by a grime artist. It was a good if short rally.

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