Monthly Archives: October 2011

Marcher’s Diary – Day 18-19

Day 18

Leicester

As we entered Leicester, our march from Abbey Park was applauded by passing shoppers. One female public sector workers remarked to a leafleter that “it’s a bloody disgrace and a tragedy that this has to happen all over again”, she took a leaflet and promised to show it to her neighbours on her estate.

The march rallied at the clock tower in Leicester city centre being filmed live by regional ITV. Local young people in hoodies and on bikes buzzed with excitement at our chants against the removal of the EMA and for Real Jobs, happy to discuss the difficult conditions facing them and get involved in Youth Fight For Jobs. We also had significant, welcome donations of cash from local people pressing wads of notes in our hands, very moving considering the hardship ordinary people are facing given the rising costs of living.

After the demonstration our spirits were lifted watching the fantastic positive coverage of our march on the BBC’s One Show. Loud cheers went up in the bar for the Fonze who voiced his support. We enjoyed having the chance to have our widely supported demands compared to the weak excuses for youth unemployment and empty promises about job creation from government minister Chris Grayling. We enjoyed another night of hospitality from the Indian Workers Association who provided a tasty curry and whose local Chairman made an inspiring speeches giving their political support.

With the support of the Socialist Students society and local UCU trade union branch we made a lot of noise and a visual impact at the midday protest at the university. Students responded by crowding the stall to sign petitions against youth unemployment and tuition fees and sign up to the campaign. This resulted in a good turnout at our evening rally at the university. Ian Pattison spoke from the perspective of being an unemployed graduate, and Rhys Harrison gave a history of the original Jarrow March and gave anecdotes of the warm solidarity today’s marchers have received on their journey. Students pledged to travel to the London demonstration on November 5.

Day 19

Leicester to Hinckley

Our last night with the IWA and then up early for the road from Leicester to Hinckley. We presented the IWA with a framed picture of the march which will hang as a permanent reminder of the march and their support.

The journey to Hinckley was marked with more support from passing drivers and shoppers in Earl Shilton. At Hinckley we held a rally in the town square passers by remarked on the decimation of the local shoe and hosiery industry over the years and gave us support in a struggle for the future of workers and young people. We then marched to the local college attracting the attention of students inside with loud megaphone chants and our banner, students came out to speak to us remarking they had seen the march on the TV and thanking us for marching through their town with a number signing up for the campaign. We settled down to the kind hospitality of the Westfield Community Centre in preparation for Nuneaton tomorrow.

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Marcher’s Diary – Days 13 – 16

Day 13

Sheffield to Chesterfield

The day started with a photo shoot with PCS member in Sheffield. We then made our way to Chesterfield. When we arrived at Chesterfield later that evening we were received by the Labour Club. We welcomed their support but Ben Robinson made a speech saying that it wasn’t enough to condemn the cuts but we needed action. He also stated that YFJ doesn’t “accept £9009, £6000 fees, education should be totally free” this drew applause from ordinary Labour Party members.

Day 14

Chesterfield to Nottingham

I woke up nice and refreshed in Anne Frazer’s house; first warm shower of the march and a comfy bed to boot. It was her son, Ben’s birthday, so HAPPY 17th BIRTHDAY BEN! Hope you had a good’un.

We set off from Chesterfield and were joined by The One Show for the rest of the morning. I personally was ‘fixing feet’ and taking care of my patients so sadly couldn’t be on TV. Matt Whale, whom they interviewed and will forever be immortalized by the BBC will now take over the blog and fill you in… Kerry Hitchen, a fellow marcher said “It was good.” (long standing joke.)

Just before lunch we reached the town of Shirebrook. There, at the market place we were met by at least 80 supporters of the march and received hugely generous donations. This excellent turnout was rather unexpected and truly reflected the surge of support since we’ve reached this region (an old mining community) and boosted morale greatly. We had lunch at the Miner’s Welfare Club and I was particularly pleased as they had pickled onions! Yum!

After setting off from Shirebrook we passed a whole street of blocked out houses. These houses were supposedly to be renovated by the council. But as is recognised in the rest of the country, they ‘ran out of money’ and thus another hundred plus people are added to the ever growing 5million on the council house register. I was told by a local that some tenants refused to move and are still living in these houses. Not even half a mile on we passed a retired coal mine. All throughout this leg of the march the cars honking have increased back up to a level I would say we only experienced in Jarrow and the North East itself; the echoes of the past are very much still heard in these hard hit, industrial regions.

We stopped at Kirby-on-Ashfield, after walking 21 miles, where we all went to our respective homes for the night. Myself and 3 others were put up by lovely couple, Rosemary and Colin. We dropped off our bags, had the best lasagne ever (the garlic breath was well worth it!) and then went to a social; a subscriber of The Socialist was having a birthday party (second birthday shout out) and invited us all to go along and join in the merriment. We all had a fantastic time, and I hear the curry was very good.

Rosemary picked us up waayyy past bed time and I soon fell asleep.

Woke up next day to the aroma of bacon and eggs drifting up the stairs. The spread put out for us wasn’t just appreciated, I don’t think any of us wanted to leave. I missed out on going home when we got to Yorkshire and the feeling of warmth I got at their home made me feel so much better.

We left Kirby-on-Ashfield at 12noon and travelled 6 miles until we reached Nottingham centre where a huge reception of around 300, an absolutely fantastic turnout (a thanks to Helen Pattison and her hardcore leafleting should be mentioned). We had a fair few speakers including our own marcher Kirk Leonard from Australia who highlighted the international struggles taking place and the need to unite all workers of the world in this fight against capitalism. Thanks also to the vegan company who laid on food for us after the demo!

The rest of the day was ours and we took advantage of this well deserved time off by making a short trip to the oldest inn in England ‘Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem’.

Back at our home for the weekend, I had the first cooked mushrooms I’ve ever liked, cheers to Colin for the culinary experience.

The rest of my night (and from what I’ve heard others feel the same) was relaxing and enjoyable. Except for when Alex Moore lied about going to Alton Towers…better be a lie anyway.

Day 15

Nottingham to Loughborough

We were due to set off from Nottingham to Loughborough at 10am although due to a minibus malfunctioning tyre we were rather delayed. Bullet (Mark our driver) as usual came to our rescue and a while later we were on our way. The 15 mile leg started and soon we were back walking on our enemy, the grass verge of an A-road. Our navigator Ben Robinson once again sent us the wrong way as we missed the turn off. The walk was long and rural to keep moral up we started a chorus of chants and songs written by the marchers at the expense of others on the march ( light hearted of course).

We had a rare negative heckle by a less than sober man outside a pub. Though any insult caused was countered by the PCS rep. who fought our corner and sent the marchers into Loughborough on high spirits where we were met by a delegation of trade unionists. We then proceeded to our accommodation at the Indian Workers Association (IWA) in Leicester. Here a welcome evening meal of traditional curry awaited us. We had a brief welcome meeting hosted by the IWA who sent their fraternal greetings and solidarity to the march and sent us to our beds well fed and in high spirits.

Day 16

Loughborough to Leicester.

The Jarrow marchers arrived in Loughborough for our 12 mile march to Leicester at 10am with the best breakfast we’ve had yet, a warm curry put on by the Leicester Indian Workers Association. BBC East Midlands followed our progress throughout the day, focusing on unemployed Leicester University graduate and Jarrow marcher, Alex Moore. Alex said, “The reason why I’m doing the Jarrow March is that there are hundreds of thousands of people like me in my situation, and I just feel I have to stand up to the attacks on young people. I was at the Leicester University graduate fair and there were very few jobs for people with degrees like mine.”

This is the plight of thousands of graduates up and down the country and we urge all those who have failed to find work upon finishing to support the march on the 5th of November through London as we say ‘We won’t be a lost generation, We’ll fight for jobs and education!’

As we marched we were greeted by support in numerous villages and one youngster on his half-term holidays was happy to take a leaflet and join us for some lunch in the village of Quorn with a sandwich and crisps.

We then marched off before eventually arriving in Leicester. There we held a demonstration at the clock tower in the town centre. Ian Pattison explained why we were marching and talked about the need for a united struggle against the cuts.

We then went back to the IWA where they put on Curry for us. Cheers guys.

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Editor of the Socialist dedicates day 3 to young people in South Africa

From Sarah Sachs-Eldridge:

Day 3: Young people in South Africa and the memory of my great aunt Phyllis Altman who fought for trade union rights and against apartheid. But that fight is not over. South Africa is now the most unequal society on earth with the richest 10% earning more than the other 90%! One in five children shows signs of malnutrition. And 50% of under 30s are unemployed. Last year huge strike action rocked the country showing that the traditions of struggle have not gone away. I support the Democratic Socialist Movement which calls for the building of a new mass workers’ party with a socialist programme to unite all the many sections of the South African working class who are fighting back. See www.socialistworld.net and www.socialismtoday.org for reports.

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Statement of support for Vik Chechi from the marchers

Reinstate Vic Chechi

The Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow Marchers totally condemn the suspension of Vic Chechi. Vic is a supporter of YFJ and is a tireless fighter against attcks on the jobs and living standards of his members and of ordinary working class and young people as a whole.

This is a clear attempt by the managment of Queen Mary’s to silence any opposition to their brutal prgogramme of cuts and job losses that will effect both staff and students at the university. Queen Mary’s plan to push thorugh cuts that will put 100 of it’s staff out of work. Knowing that they have lost the argument they have resorted to old style union bashing.

The YFJ Jarrow Marchers demand the instant reinstatement of Vic and that they set a budget that meets the needs of all students and staff at theuni. We also demand that they join the fight back against the ConDemolition and it’s brutal austerity agenda.

Reinstate Vic Chechi!
No to victimisation of trade unionists!

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Solidarity to the Occupy London Camp

The Jarrow March for Jobs would like to extend its support and solidarity to the Occupy London protesters camped at St Paul’s.

Kerry Hitchen Jarrow Marcher from Rotherham said:

“As an unemployed prospective nursing student who can see the NHS being cut back and privatised to the point of being unrecognisable, I see the Jarrow march as an important campaign to highlight all the effects of the government’s plans. The NHS provides crucial services to young people, including mental health, sexual health etc. These supposed ‘non-vital’ services are being faced with almost total eradication.
This, alongside rising youth unemployment to almost a million, the scrapping of EMA and the rise in tuition fees has left young people fighting for a future.
The Jarrow march aims to fight back against all the cuts to give young people a future. As we have travelled down the country the support has been inspiring. In
Jarrow 500 people joined us on the demonstration and applauded the march. One man who saw the original Jarrow march set off was in tears. Financial support
has also been overwhelming. One woman pulled up her car and gave us £100 as we passed.

This crisis is a systemic, international crisis and the march sees the occupation of Wall Street, the student protests in Chile and the anti-capitalist movement as vital aspects of the worldwide fightback. The Jarrow march sends its support and solidarity to all those in struggle.”

It is ordinary people that are being made to pay for the crisis caused by the banks and the rich whilst they bask in ever increasing bonuses and bailouts. This is becoming an increasingly recognised fact and our protests are highlighting to workers and young people across the UK that there is an alternative, that we can fight back and we can organise.

As young unemployed people, students and young trade unionists we are marching from Jarrow in the North East to London in the tradition of the 1936 Jarrow March on its 75th Anniversary. We are demanding On the Jarrow March:

  • A massive government scheme to create jobs which are socially useful and apprenticeships which offer guaranteed jobs at the end – both paying at least the minimum wage, with no youth exemptions.
  • The immediate reinstatement of EMA payments, expanding them to be available to all 16-19 year olds. Scrap university fees, for free high quality education.
  • The immediate re-opening of all youth services that have been closed, including reinstating sacked staff.
  • The scrapping of ‘workfare’ schemes – benefits should be based on need not forced slave labour.
  • A massive building programme of environmentally sound, cheap social housing.

We too, will be linking up with workers taking action on 30th November. United, with a fighting strategy, we will be able to defeat this government’s attacks on ordinary people.

We are encouraging our supporters to join your protest this weekend and will be sending a marcher from Coventry, where the march will have reached, to come and speak at your assembly and bring support from the march.

Jarrow Marchers

Youth Fight for Jobs

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Defend QMUL Unison Branch Secretary Vik Chechi!

Vik Chechi Unison Branch Secretary at Queen Mary’s University showing support in Jarrow at the start of the march

Vik Chechi, the Unison Branch Secretary of Queen Mary University in east London has this afternoon been suspended by his employer. We suspect that this is with a clear view to sack him because management wants to weaken the union and the
anti-cuts campaign in the University which has united staff and students. They have been alarmed because Vik and other union activists have managed to reinvigorate the Unison branch. This is a classic attempt to smash a fighting union branch to allow management to drive through significant cuts including over 100 redundancies at the same as students face a tripling of tuition fees.
By disarming the union, this would be just the start of the attacks on staff and students alike.

This is also an attack on Unison in particular and trade unions in general, just as we build up towards the massive pension strike on November 30th. Plymouth City Council has recently attempted to de-recognise Unison and many employers in both the public and private sector are looking to cut back on union facilities. Workers cannot afford to see their union strength weakened at this critical time when jobs, terms & conditions and pensions are on the line.

Please protest immediately to Vik’s employers demanding his immediate reinstatement

– Queen Mary University c.pearson@qmul.ac.uk

and ‘Centre of the Cell’ f.balkwill@qmul.ac.uk. Send copies to info@shopstewards.net

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March for Jobs benefit gig hots up!

03 November · 19:00 – 23:00
The Bread and Roses, 68 Clapham Manor Street, Clapham, London
Attend on facebook!
They’ll have marched 330 miles so the least we can do is throw them a party!
A benefit for the Jarrow to London March for Jobs featuring:
Young Deacon (Rapper)
Grace Petrie (ARTour)
Ewan Mclennan (BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award 2010)
Ian Saville (socialist magician)
Simon Munnery (Comedian)
and more comedians, musicians and speakers to be confirmed…
There will also be a ‘Meet the marchers’ event from 7-7.30pm where there’ll be a presentation from the marchers about their month-long march from the north east to London.
£5 waged / £3 unwaged and Free for Jarrow-London marchers.
Bring friends, faimly, colleagues and forward this on.
More details or if you’d like to perform or speak please email jameskerr1987@hotmail.co.uk
Follow ‘YouthMarch4Jobs’ on Twitter for benefit updates.

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