I marched through Glasgow on the 20th with fellow trade unionist from dozens of different unions. I was proud to represent the Northwest Probation and CAFCASS branch and took the opportunity to speak about the works that our members do, the climate in which we work and the threats that we face.
I wanted to show my opposition to the scathing cuts to public Services which often impact disproportionally upon the most vulnerable members of my community.
Though it wasn’t one of the TUC’s main objectives I wanted to show my resentment towards a government that on the one hand forces disabled people to seek employment but on the other stood by as tax avoidance increased from £34 to £35 billion during the last tax year with a recent announcement that Starbucks have not paid a penny of tax despite having a UK turnover of £1.2 billion.
Starbucks claim on their website that “We’ve always believed that businesses can – and should – have a positive impact on the communities they serve.”
I wonder which communities they serve? Is it the community where Young black men have experienced the sharpest rise in unemployment since the coalition came to power, with more than one in four of all black 16-24 year olds (26 per cent) currently out of work, according to a TUC report on youth unemployment published on Wednesday. Or perhaps it is the community where 3.8 million children live in poverty, that’s one in three children – a shocking figure given the wealth of our nation. Or perhaps it is the community of well paid executives who earn hundreds of thousands a year selling their wares in shops staffed by our neighbours earning minimum wage?
I wanted to show my resentment towards a Government that cuts and cuts at public budgets, ultimately forcing service providers to fail only for that failure to be used as a excuse to privatise.
When privatisation comes, and it most definitely will come, the focus will shift from service to profit and those vulnerable members of the community who may have disproportionate care or education costs will be left to fend for their selves in a heartless world.
I marched alongside friends old and new with shared views, our sense of fairness, our sense of community and we discussed how we can turn back the tide of politicians of all parties behaving with impunity. I am not a supporter of any political party and the challenge I set to any politician is simple, “Give me a reason to vote for you”.
But what I do urge is for everyone to become a member of a trade union and to play and active part in that union. The benefits we see today have largely come about as our forebears have fought to get a welfare state, an NHS, a free education system and much more. And if you want to stop the politicians selling off those safeguards then now is the time to act.
I was proud on Saturday to march and share with those around me our branches motto
“Public Services, delivered by the Public Sector, without Prejudice or Profit”
That’s why I marched on Saturday, Kev Allsop, Chair
Northwest Probation and Cafcass UNISON