Unison lead ‘austerity wrecks lives’ march in Manchester to oppose coalition cuts

Unison will march through Manchester tomorrow under the slogan ‘austerity wrecks lives’, which aims to highlight opposition to the Government’s economic policies.

Co-ordinated by the public sector workers’ union Unison, demonstraters will assemble at Castlefield Arena on Liverpool Road at 11am.

After a two-mile march circling the city, events will culminate in a rally, again at Castlefield Arena, addressed by National union leaders, Dave Prentis, General-Secretary of Unison, and the National Union of Teachers’ General Secretary Christine Blower.

Bernie Walsh, a care assistant for adults with learning difficulties from Heywood, said:  “I’ll be marching in Manchester on Saturday because we can’t put up with permanent austerity.

“I can’t understand why services for vulnerable people are under constant threat when there’s plenty of money about for the rich people at the top. I think our society has its priorities upside-down.

“I’m the main breadwinner in our house and we have had to keep cutting back year after year. The uncertainty and insecurity is exhausting.”

Kevan Nelson, Unison’s Regional Secretary for the North-West, argued that Bernie’s experience was typical of people’s across the region.

“Austerity is wrecking people’s life chances,” he said. “Sometimes this happens suddenly – through the closure of an important service or a redundancy, sometimes through a gradual chipping away at service quality and living standards.”

Describing the aims of the march Mr Nelson said: “We want to highlight that austerity has a real cost for ordinary people and it is not right or necessary to impose continued cuts.”

He also encouraged those interested to bring their families, as children’s activities are planned during the ‘family-friendly, enjoyable event’. 

Speaking to Unison members today, Manchester City Council leader, Sir Richard Leese, contended that the city had not been treated fairly by the Government in the regional distribution of cuts.

Sir Richard said: “If Manchester had had the same cut in funding as the national average. We would be £1million a week better off.

“Fairness is an important word and we have not seen a lot of it from central Government.”

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