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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Workers’ Notes – May Day

by New Worker correspondents

Last week millions of people all around the world took part in May Day parades to celebrate International Workers’ Day. Britain was no exception, with traditional labour movement marches in London and many other towns and cities throughout the country.

May Day in London…

by New Worker correspondent

Thousands of trade unionists, socialists, communists and members of the Turkish, Kurdish and other communities living in London gathered in Clerkenwell Green outside Marx House for the start of the annual May Day commemoration. London comrades with the New Communist Party banner marched alongside Ukraine anti-fascist solidarity supporters through central London for the traditional rally in Trafalgar Square. There they were joined by striking Unite workers who left their picket outside St Thomas’ hospital to join the rally in the afternoon.

“It’s great to see such a diverse range of people coming together to celebrate our day,” Mick Lynch, the leader of the RMT transport union, said at the rally. “There’s a lot of talk about a big day coming up,” he said referring to the Coronation. “But this is about our history and our culture: the working people of the world, the people that generate all of the wealth so that these rich people can live on the cream of the world. That’s got to change; that’s what our movement is about.”

In Liverpool

by New Worker correspondent

Thousands marched through the streets of Liverpool to celebrate International Workers’ Day on May Day and to support striking nurses and other workers.

The march, which was noisy and well received by the people of Liverpool who have a proud history of political and industrial struggle, ended in a rally held in Derby Square organised by Liverpool Trades Council.

Speakers from striking unions were angry yet determined to fight and show solidarity in the onslaught of attacks on the working class and trade unions. The march and rally took place within the context of national industrial struggles involving striking workers against imposed wage restraints whilst the multinationals rake in vast profits, and widespread militant protests taking place in France.

Despite being told by the Tories that there is no money in the coffers and that our demands for pay rises are unjustified, £250 million of tax payers’ money can be found for the Coronation of King Charles III and £3.9 billion sent to the fascists in the Ukraine.

Striking Nurse Carmel O'Boyle, Chair of the NW Regional Board of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), defiantly and passionately explained the need to fight against austerity. “We need you to stand up to fight for us as we fight for you! There is a nurse at every stage of our lives from the cradle to the grave and even in the darkness of this government when they tell us we aren’t good enough, not good enough to strike and not good enough to pay properly…we will be the light!

“We are the light in the darkness! On International Workers’ Day we stand together with you and all our trade union colleagues to build a better Britain and world for the for the generations to come!”

Tracy Hylton from PCS, the main civil service union, told how civil servants are being balloted for a new wave of strikes having had no pay rise since 2012 and against attacks on pay and conditions. “We have to fight for our rights! They are seeking to divide us all the time. This is class war! We are collateral damage to the elite and they don't care if we don't have enough to eat. We must show solidarity and strength!” The need for industrial struggle after four years of wage freezes and 13 years of austerity was made by Denise McEveley of the RMT transport union. She said: “We must come together to beat the vile political attacks from the Tories!”

Many spoke of the need for nationalisation, to resist, and for further industrial action.

Continuous action with other unions to bring down this Government was being demanded by rank-and-file workers declared Saira Weiner from the University College Union (UCU): “Solidarity to the RMT! Solidarity to workers fighting back! We need to say enough is enough. We need to organise ourselves. The union leaders’ jobs are to negotiate and when the bosses don't negotiate, they tell us nothing can be done but to accept it.

“I'll tell you how we deal with it. We show solidarity and strike! It's shocking how they try and blame others like refugees while that parasite gets his crown next week! We are told we are expected to pledge allegiance. They want us to swear allegiance to him! I will be swearing because we need to get rid of them and this feudal system that pays out millions of pounds to these parasites!”

The electrifying growth of the striking trade union movement seeking inflation busting pay rises was described by the UCU’s Mark O'Brien. “New members, activists, joint rallies, co-ordinated actions and joint initiatives are bringing and building solidarity on picket lines.

“On International Workers Day we need to build the rank and file. We want to see the full power of the movement unleashed!”

He called on the need to resist attempts to divide us using racism before triumphantly declaring: “Liverpool is a fascist free zone!”

Felicity Darwin (Campaign to Save the NHS and Save Liverpool Women's Hospital) was blistering in her attack on the Tories and the privatisation of the NHS. “The NHS is being robbed! We are fighting to save the NHS! Fight with us to save the Women’s Hospital! For all our Mothers, our Sisters, our friends, our lovers, and for every single baby born there! Fight back for the Women’s!”

International messages of working-class support and solidarity to Liverpool Trades Council from France and Pakistan were read out, including from the General Secretary of the Balochistan province Labour Federation who reported on job cuts, wage freezes and attacks on unions’ rights to organise workers. “We are bearing the brunt of this crisis that the ruling class has created. We agree with your slogan 'Enough is Enough' and wish to be part of this struggle to change this elitist system!”

Unfortunately, glaring omissions were evident from speeches with a complete lack of references to the US imperialist proxy war in the Ukraine and the economic impact on workers, emphasising our need to develop and expand the anti-war campaign within the trade union movement.

New Workers were sold and masses of International Ukraine Anti-Fascist Solidarity (IUAFS) campaign leaflets were distributed, which was very important considering the forthcoming pro-Ukraine {Eurovision Song Contest 2023} due to take place in Liverpool.

A rousing end to the march and rally had everyone chanting: “The Workers, United, Will never be defeated! The Workers, United, Will never be defeated! The Workers, United, Will never be defeated!”

And Southampton…

by New Worker correspondent

On May Day, a crowd of several hundred people marched from Southampton's historic Bargate to nearby Palmerston Park to commemorate International Workers’ Day.

The crowd included numerous trade unions, including Unison, Unite and the RMT, as well as numerous community groups. Also present were members of Socialist Party and the CPB, as well as a small number of Labour councillors.

The march ended with a number of speeches from trade unionists, political parties and community groups. The most rousing speech of all was made by New Worker media correspondent Ben Soton, who lives in Southampton. He emphasised the importance of joining a trade union and stated the importance of putting working people first. Ben commented that: "We need to put the nurse above the CEO, the teacher above the tax dodger and the railway worker above the Hedge Fund Manager!"

The event also included songs by Southampton's Red Star Choir, including Bella Ciao and The Red Flag.