SIPTU was well represented at the NIC-ICTU anti-cuts rally which the General President Jack O'Connor attended on Saturday (26th March). The march saw 6,000 people from a broad cross section of society comprising of trade unionists, community activists and members of the public who took to the streets of Belfast to assert their rights against the savagery of the austerity measures. Hundreds of SIPTU members and their families took part in the march to show their total opposition to the unnecessary cuts and to demand that the powers that be adopt a fairer, better way.
Niall McNally SIPTU Organiser, commenting on the march stated:
“It was exhilarating to see cross community activists speaking with one united voice making it clear that the real enemy are the people attempting to foist the cuts on to working families and the people who rely on public services. A message went out loud and clear today that working people have had enough”
“We are aware that one march will not be enough. Continued, co-ordinated and sustained action will be required to protect the most vulnerable in our society from the rapacious intent of a government hell bent on attacking what working people have built over the last 50 years. The threshold of decency must be maintained!”
Jim McVeigh, SIPTU Community activist, said; “It was great to see people from all sectors gathering outside City Hall to protest against the cuts. I was pleased to see community workers, health workers, teachers all united in their struggle against austerity. This however is only the start of a necessary campaign to resist the cuts”
Billy ‘Twister’ McQuiston, SIPTU Community Activist said; “These cuts will decimate the community and voluntary sector. The sector that is delivering the peace process here. How can you cut peace?”
SIPTU members also marched in Derry to Altnagelvin hospital to insist that the cancer services to the north west are delivered. The marches were organised in solidarity with a massive trade union mobilisation in London with estimates by the British TUC of over 400,000 participants.