Branch activists joined over 100 trade unionists, community activists and members of the public at the Aberdeen “Protect the Right to Strike” Rally on 1st Feb – part of massive UK wide protests against the latest anti-trade union legislation passed by this government.
Organised by Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) the event was chaired by Kathleen Kennedy, branch vice-chair and vice president of ATUC. Speakers came from a range of unions in struggle, including EIS, PCS and UCU, whose members had been on strike that day.
Speaking on behalf of UNISON, branch co-chair, Kate Ramsden brought solidarity from our union to all workers in struggle, “our own members, south of the border and all our sister unions taking action locally and across Scotland.
“Because a victory for one is a victory for us all,” said Kate. “That’s the beauty of collective action – of standing together in solidarity and comradeship.
“That’s what the Tories and the capitalists fear. And that’s why they are attacking our employment rights and our right to strike. They know that when we stand together we are strong. And that is why we are standing together now.”
She pointed out that our right to strike, to withdraw our labour is a fundamental human right. “It is essential to balance the power between the workers and the bosses,” she warned.
She spoke about the waves of strikes across the UK, demanding decent pay for our members facing a cost of living crisis worse than we’ve seen in decades.
“Our members, dependent on foodbanks to feed their children and themselves, facing an impossible choice between eating and heating.
“Yet we are still the 5th richest country in the world. The money is there for decent wages. It’s just that it is in the hands of the richest – the very people who don’t need it. The people who are running our country and bringing in these draconian laws,” slammed Kate
“And here’s the thing – the supreme irony of it all. Our economy is a shambles – the worst in Europe. And the way to fix it is to put money in the pockets of ordinary people. People like you and me. Workers who spend in our local shops and businesses, supporting the local economy. The people who pay our taxes.
“The richest do neither. They squirrel money away in offshore accounts and avoid paying taxes at all costs.
“Don’t be fooled,” Kate urged. “The money is there and keeping wages down is a matter of political choice.
But Kate warned that this Tory will never change that choice so so we can only resist by withdrawing our labour.
“So we will not let this government of the rich, for the greedy rich, take away our right to strike. Today’s massive action across the country is only that start. And we have the support of the public who have woken up to the mess this government is making – to the unfairness and the inequality.
“When we stand together we can win!”