Anti-austerity rally to set scene for mass Islington walk-out
PUBLISHED: 12:30 25 June 2014
An anti-austerity rally is set to be staged at the town hall next Wednesday ahead of a mass strike across the borough.
On July 10, thousands of teachers, Islington Council workers and support staff are expected to walk out in protest at government cuts, leading to most schools, town hall services and jobcentres being closed.
To drum up support, speakers, including MP for Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn, will address a crowd at 6.30pm the week before, discussing perceived attacks on public sector pay, pensions and working conditions by the coalition government.
Mr Corbyn said: “I am speaking at the event because I feel austerity is damaging the life chances of a lot of people in our community.
“This capped benefit means they can’t stay in their homes and are forced to move out of the borough, while the wage cap on public sector workers means they are essentially having their pay cut. Then there’s Michael Gove’s obsessive meddling in local education by imposing free schools.”
Ken Muller, assistant secretary of Islington NUT, said: “Of course we don’t like having to do this and we regret the impact the strike action will have on the people who use our services and the children who attend our schools.
“But we firmly believe that the coalition government is cutting and dismantling public services and attacking the pay and conditions of those who work in them in order to make us pay the cost of an economic disaster which we had no part in creating.
“Why should public sector workers have the real value of their pay cut year after year, their workload and working hours increase and their pensions trashed?”
A spokesman for the DWP said: “We spend £94billion a year on working age benefits and the welfare system supports millions of people every day. Our vital reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities.
“These reforms will guarantee a strong welfare safety net, and we are providing councils with £345million across this year and next to support people through these necessary changes.
“Universal credit will make three million households better off and lift up to 300,000 children out of poverty.”
The event takes place in Committee Room one, Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, Islington on July 2 at 6.30pm.