"We're trying to save education and are fighting to save our pensions"…
Members of Salford's trade unions - including the NUT, UCU, ATL, Unison, Unite, PCS, NUJ and the FBU - turned out in force today as part of a 5000 strong crowd which weaved its way from All Saints to a rally at the Castlefield Arena.
There they heard Helen Andrews of the National Union of Teachers accuse David Cameron of being deceitful and heavy handed in negotiations to make teachers and other public sector workers pay more into their pensions while they work longer years for a smaller pension at the end of it.
She accused the Prime Minister of lying about the state of the negotiations and went on to ask "When you get robbed who is to blame? The thief? Or the person who's been robbed?"
To wild applause, she added "We're teachers, we know how to deal with bullies"…
Staff from Salford University were not on strike today as they held action last March and are currently balloting for more in September and October. But Chris Sheehey, from Salford's University and College Union was here with colleagues carrying a huge Salford UCU banner on the march.
"We've come to add support to this battle to try and protect pensions and try to reach a reasonable negotiated settlement" she said "It affects lecturers very profoundly in terms of their benefits and will affect them to the day they die.
"These aren't minor cuts" she added "They are huge cuts which is why we're out in such great force. We believe our cause is just, it's reasonable and we have tried our best to negotiate but the employer seems to be reticent to go to ACAS or anywhere else to negotiate with us. So it's now left for us to get out on the streets to let the general public know that we're trying to save education and are fighting to save our pensions."
While the marchers heard rallying calls from all speakers at Castlefield, a few miles away, outside Salford Civic Centre in Swinton, Salford Council Unison, who weren't called out on strike today, held their own mini rally in support of the day of action.
Altogether, the message for the ConDem Government from both Salford and Manchester was clear…
"They say `Cut Back'…`We say Fight Back!!!'
Salford Unison rally photos by Albert Spiby