UNISON members are gearing up for the anti-austerity march in Manchester on Saturday. The demonstration will highlight the continued cost of the Government’s austerity policies. The march concludes with a rally at Castlefield Arena, which will be addressed by national union leaders – Dave Prentis from UNISON and Christine Blower from the National Union of Teachers.
Amongst the marchers on Saturday will be Bernie Walsh, 52, a care assistant from Heywood. Bernie was previously employed as a cook in day care centres in Bury. Three years ago the service was reorganised and Bernie held on to her job by re-training as a care assistant, taking a drop in income due to a reduction in hours. She now provides care for adults with learning difficulties – a job she describes as her vocation, but the service is again going through a re-organisation due to cost pressures in the Council.
“We’ve had years of austerity now and the uncertainty and insecurity is exhausting. I just want to do a good job, provide a good service and have a decent standard of living. 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 household and we have had to keep cutting back year after year. I’ll be marching in Manchester on Saturday because we can’t put up with permanent austerity. We need more fairness for vulnerable people, for working people and for future generations.”
Kevan Nelson, UNISON North West Regional Secretary said:
“Austerity is wrecking people’s living standards and life chances. Sometimes this happens suddenly – through the closure of an important service or a redundancy, sometimes it is through a gradual chipping away at service quality and living standards. We want to highlight that austerity has a real cost for ordinary people and that it is not right or necessary to impose continued cuts.”
The march begins and ends at Castlefield Arena, Liverpool Road. The march assembles at 11am, and after circling the city centre returns to Castlefield at 12.30 for the rally. It will be a family friendly event with music and children’s activities.
Kevan Nelson continued:
“It will be an enjoyable event and we want to send a clear message that we need a change from austerity policies.”