Keep the faith, keep fighting and victory will be ours

Keep the faith, keep fighting and victory will be ours

18 October 2014

Britain needs a pay rise rally

Speech by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

Saturday 18 October 2014

Check against delivery

Hello London! Sisters and Brothers, Comrades, Friends,

Firstly, let me say a huge thank you to all of you for marching here today as part of our ongoing campaign to demand from the political elite

  • Fairness 4 workers
  • Marching for social justice
  • For decent wages
  • And an end to austerity

An austerity which takes from those who have little – but gives to the already wealthy

Which humiliates the poor, the disabled and vulnerable – but protects the city elite

Today I am proud to stand with hundreds of thousands of NHS workers and Civil Servants who took strike action this week – these are decent workers doing decent jobs worthy of a decent wage.

This government told the British people – the disabled, the one million unemployed young people, teachers, nurses, the low paid and the vulnerable, that they must pay for the crisis caused by corporate greed and casino capitalism

Today we have marched for those workers and the many millions more who are facing the largest cut in their living standards in peace time Britain 

  • But we need to do more than just march
  • We need more than anger
  • We need to organise
  • We need to mobilise

Over the last 41/2 years the coalition government has set about dismantling and destroying every gain working people have made since 1945

Their mission is to:

  • Dismantle the NHS – slicing it up bit by bit and handing it on a silver platter to their friends in the private health companies
  • Seeking to destroy the welfare state – characterising anyone who uses the benefit system in their time of need as a scrounger
  • And devastating local government to a point where care of the elderly is now defined by spreadsheet economics separated into 10 minute blocks, irrespective of the individual’s needs

So imagine what another five years of this government would deliver – a further £40 billion of cuts, the erasing of every socially progressive political gain we have made in the last 70 years.

So Britain needs more than a pay rise

It needs a government that fights for working people like the Tories fight for the rich

The millions we represent here today know there is an alternative to the starvation policies of the Tories

  • Tackle tax dodgers
  • Build more homes
  • Bring the banks under real public control
  • Freeze energy prices
  • Re-nationalise rail
  • And boost the minimum wage immediately
It needs strong fighting trade unions

It needs a mass movement for social justice in every town, every village, every workplace

And it needs a Labour party that offers a clear socialist alternative at the next election

So I say to Labour – stop being scared of your own shadow

Don’t shrink what you offer the British people

The time for being timid is past

Be brave, be inspired by this march today.

Believe that people power and working class movements can change our country for the better – as history tells us it can

The achievements of our forefathers and mothers are in our hands

Hold on tight, comrades, keep the faith – keep fighting and victory will be ours