Today began with over five hundred people meeting at Bexley Square to hear a succession of Salford speakers, and ended in Whitworth Park on the other side of Manchester with 30,000 public sector workers and supporters from all over Greater Manchester coming together to defend pensions against vicious attacks from the ConDem Government. This was a demonstration that just grew and grew and grew…
Salford's contribution began at 10:30am in Bexley Square with a rally and some stirring speeches from Unison, NASUWT and PCS union reps, striking electricians, a Salford Jarrow-London marcher and a member of Salford Pensioners Association.
They lined up to attack the ConDem Government's attack on pensions which will mean public sector workers having to work longer and paying more into pensions to get less out at the end.
Alice Searle, speaking on behalf of the Salford Pensioners Association, pointed out that the ConDem plans to make people work until they're 67 or 68, might not have much effect in the places that David Cameron haunts – but in inner city Salford the life expectancy is between 70 and 71, giving around three years from retirement to death.
Meanwhile, plans to make public sector workers pay more into their pensions to ultimately get less at the end of their working life was branded "daylight robbery" by PCS officer Alex Davidson, who also attacked the "wretched Labour leadership".
Joe Langley, local secretary of teachers' union NASUWT and representing Oasis Academy staff, promised more strike action against the imposed redundancy of 13 teachers (click here for more details) at Christmas, before laying into the Government's pension plans…
"It's a complete rip off and it's an extra tax on each and every one of us, it's a disgrace" he said "Keep fighting – no matter what they say in the media the Government is rattled by this. We need to keep going and eventually we will get somewhere. They don't like this and we need to do more of it."
Indeed, no matter what the Government says in the media, and no matter what image the mainstream media puts out, real life events proved that there is massive support for action in Salford and Manchester.
By the time the Salford march set off from Bexley Square to Castlefield the numbers had swelled to over 700 people and a noisy, celebratory procession snaked down Chapel Street and into Manchester.
As public sector workers and supporters from all over Greater Manchester joined in the Castlefield march - which routed along Deansgate, past Manchester Town Hall and down to Oxford Road - the numbers just got bigger and bigger, and by the time it merged with students by Manchester University organisers were estimating 30,000 people taking part.
But this wasn't just about the march itself. Shoppers and workers in Manchester city centre lined the route clapping and cheering striking public sector workers. This was a massive show of support from Manchester and Salford and Greater Manchester for the fightback against the ConDem Government's attack on public services and public service workers.
* See also Official Strikers' Pickets Kicked Off MediaCityUK - click here