Swathes of Unite members from across the country joined 50,000 protesters in Manchester yesterday (October 1) on the first day of the Conservative Conference.
Chants of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” and “Tories out” rang out across the demonstration as protesters marched through the city centre.
A sea of people carrying trade union flags followed behind a banner which read, “No more austerity. We demand an alternative. No more cuts.”
Demonstrators carried effigies of Theresa May, “Justice for Grenfell” signs and a range of anti-austerity and anti-Tory placards.
One placard read, “I’ve seen better cabinets at Ikea.”
Unite member and Manchester City Council worker Sonayallu Wilson (pictured below) was one of those at the march.
She said, “I’m here today because Manchester says no to the Tories. The damage they’ve done to this city with their policies means they’re not welcome here.
“We need a government that actually cares about ordinary people. That’s why I’m proud that Unite is backing Labour under Jeremy Corbyn. Hopefully soon we can get rid of this Tory shambles.”
British Airways mixed cabin crew and Unite rep Zimeon Jones (pictured below) had travelled from London to attend the demonstration.
Jones said he was marching because the Conservatives needed to see that people have had enough.
“They want to take us back to Victorian levels of inequality. For a couple of generations we had improvements but we’re going backwards under the Tories. Working conditions have gotten much worse and people are poorer. They want us to lie down and accept austerity and degraded pay and working conditions,” Jones said.
“The situation is intolerable but the government has underestimated the resilience of working people. We’re fighting back, the Tories are hanging on by a thread and it won’t be long before there’s a Labour government.”
People’s Assembly national secretary Sam Fairbairn said the size of the protest demonstrated just how unpopular the Tories’ policies are.
Fairbairn said, “The protest shows the mass opposition to the failed politics of austerity.”
“The Tories have continued policies that have caused a housing crisis, mushrooming of zero-hours contracts, poverty pay and the privatisation of the NHS.”
The anti-austerity march concluded in Piccadilly Gardens where a separate protest against the Tories’ Brexit policies also finished.
- Photos by Mark Thomas