"All we have to do is look around us, those of us who have lived here all our lives or who have worked here – how much more can this City take?" Steve North, Salford Trades Council
With flags and banners flying in the rain, Salford's trade unionists and people from the community came together to begin the resistance to the forthcoming cuts that the ConDem Government are attempting to impose on the city.
Apart from the Independent councillor, Martin O'Neill, not one other Salford councillor turned up to show support – not from the Tories, Lib Dems or Labour.
However over 100 people did take over the Town Hall steps to hear speeches by reps from UNISON, GMB, Salford Trades Council and Salford Mental Health Forum who urged Salford people to fight back against job losses and public service cuts and those who impose them, be it the ConDem Government or Salford Council itself.
UNISON's Ray Walker condemned `bankers, speculators and city whizzkids' who had got the country into the current mess which, he explained, could mean a reduction of a quarter of Salford City Council's spending…cuts of anywhere between £39 and £60million over the next three years.
"We all know the damage that will be done to the young, elderly and dependent if the ConDem Government get their way" he said "What happens in town halls up and down the country will be watched very carefully by our unions and by local voters – I urge this council to think carefully before making cuts and to work as closely as they can with communities and trade unions, so that whatever happens we protect the most vulnerable.
"We need to send a clear message to this government that we will make this fightback the biggest since the anti-poll tax movement which eventually helped bring down the Thatcher government" he added "This is our opportunity to make that historic stand together. There is an alternative to slash and burn…"
Steve North, Assistant Secretary of Salford Trades Council, used his speech to launch an anti-cuts coalition in Salford, with a public meeting to be held as soon as soon as the extent of the cuts were known in November.
"We've got to make it as difficult as possible for them to get away with what they want to get away with" he said "For this government, this is ideological. They don't care about the impact this is going to have on working class communities. They don't care about the impact this is going to have on public services. We can tell them 'til we're blue in the face that they can cut here, cut there, raise taxes, clamp down on bankers' bonuses – they don't want to do it because that's the class they look after. They don't look after the likes of us, they don't look after people in Salford, they don't look after public sector workers.
"We've got to make sure that wherever these cuts strike we're standing together united, standing with each other" he added "If there are cuts in one area and workers are affected we all need to be down there standing with those workers. If there are cuts to a community centre and the users of that community centre want to fight back we need to be down there supporting them, that's the only way we are going to defeat this thing."
In a stark warning to Salford's Labour Council, Steve North argued that Salford people did not elect Labour councillors to pass on ConDem cuts…
"All we have to do is look around us, those of us who have lived here all our lives or who have worked here" he said "How much more can this City take? Over half the kids in this city are already growing up in poverty. Whether it's £39m in cuts or £79m or £110m – how much more can we take? We can't take any more. We need to come together we need to unite. We need to send a clear message not just to the ConDem Government in London but we need to send a message to Salford Council as well – they were not elected to pass on these cuts. That's not what the people of Salford want. And if they try and pass on those cuts it will be resisted…"
There is to be a national lobby of Parliament on October 19th. And the Salford Anti-Cuts Coalition will be holding its first public meeting in November.
See previous story on cuts already being made here…
Photos by Albert Spiby