Jeremy Corbyn joined tens of thousands of protestors in a trade union march on Saturday demanding a “new deal” for workers and public services.

Union members, peace campaigners, and politicians from across the country descended on Hyde Park chanting, dancing, and waving banners in the rain.

The central-London rally, led by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), was the biggest demonstration in years and called for a higher minimum wage of £10 per hour, a ban on zero-hours contracts, and more funding for the NHS and other public services.

The Labour leader said: “This demonstration today is about workers’ rights, it is about collective endeavour but, above all, it’s a declaration that we’re around to campaign as long as it takes to bring about that social justice and that decency in society.”

He added: “The treatment of construction workers is a scandal and something that needs to be rectified. We need a properly regulated labour force in this country to guarantee those rights.”

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Referring to the proposed Sainsbury’s-Asda merger, which may result in the closure of 73 stores, Mr Corbyn promised to ensure that “workers have a say and a voice” in the “event of mergers, takeovers and closures”.

He later repeated his manifesto pledge to take “rail, mail, and water back into public ownership” and warned tax dodgers that “a Labour government is coming after you: we will tax properly”.

Mr Corbyn was one of several speakers to address the crowd.

Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, said: “[The government] said they wanted a hostile environment, so we’ll give them one.

“We’ll create a hostile environment for their politics of austerity, greed, and hate.”

Shakira Martin, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), added: “Work is not working for far too many people in this country. They have no idea whether they’ll have a job the following week, the following month or the following day.

“We can no longer go on with in-work poverty where people are having to choose between heating and eating.”

The average worker is now £38 a week worse off than they were in 2008, according to the TUC. They estimated that by 2025 the average worker will have lost out on around £18,500 in real earnings.

Source: ONS

Speaking before the march, Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Millions of working people are struggling to make ends meet, or even to put food on the table for their children.

“Ten years after the crash, ordinary people are still paying the price for a financial crisis they didn’t create.”

Statistics from the TUC revealed that prison officers and NHS paramedics have faced pay cuts of more than £3,800 since 2010 while teachers and firefighters have seen their salaries reduced by more than £2,400.

Speeches were also made by two employees of the restaurant chains TGI Fridays and McDonald’s, both of which are currently involved in pay disputes.

Two TGI Fridays branches in Milton Keynes and Covent Garden are set to stage walkouts every Friday from next week in protest over a new policy that gives 40% of staff tips paid via credit or debit cards to back-of-house employees.

Earlier in the month, McDonald’s workers across the UK went on strike for the first time, calling for a minimum wage of £10 per hour, an end to youth rates, and zero-hours contracts.

 


Image: Clare Clarke

Video: Rianna Croxford

Rianna is an English Literature graduate from the University of Cambridge and currently works as a freelance multimedia journalist in London. She is passionate about intersectional feminism, BAME issues, access and education.

One thought on “Jeremy Corbyn addresses TUC rally in London calling for “new deal” for workers’ rights

  1. I don’t believe that ‘protest marching’ is the right way to bring about change.
    All it does is disrupt certain parts of London which certainly won’t win support for the marchers.
    I want things to be fair etc but unless the capitalists agree then things will remain unfair and the pattern just keeps repeating itself over and over.
    I was thinking the other day about Karl Marx and how he spent most of his adult fighting against capitalism.
    He of course didn’t manage to defeat capitalism and my point is
    it doesn’t matter how many people complain about capitalism
    because the will to keep capitalism in its place is stronger than the will to remove it.
    That doesn’t mean that people should give up hope,
    no, rather they ought to learn from history and remember that many people have been protesting and marching and voting etc and yet capitalism is still here.
    What I learn from that is that there is no real will on the part of the politicians to change it and create a fair system that works for everyone.
    Don’t forget that we had a Labour Government for 13 years and I don’t recall it doing anything to replace the capitalist system.
    Its all very well that Jeremy Corbyn and frances o grady were marching with the public
    but what have they done to bring about the change that the common people want?
    Wisdom and action is what is needed but I don’t see any of those things except the same old stuff that gets attention from the media but never brings about the change that is needed.

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