Thank you to everyone who joined us on Saturday 30th April in our outreach work at the Leeds Trades Union Council May Day Rally and Demonstration.
Hundreds of trade union members supported this long-standing, traditional Leeds celebration of organised labour. The event began with a demonstration around the city centre followed by a rally in front of Leeds Art Gallery with speakers including Tim Roache, General Secretary of GMB, Richard Burgon MP and Dave Webb, National Chair of CND.
The event was a valuable opportunity to raise awareness among local trade unionists of The One Million Climate Jobs report (supported nationally by eight trade unions) which sets out how the government can solve the environmental and economic crises by creating one million climate jobs.
Building on similar outreach work in March at the Northern Rail rally in Manchester, we distributed flyers (produced by the PCS trade union), sold copies of the ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ report and displayed our banner. We also helped distribute flyers for the ‘Forwards not Backwards on Climate’ Leeds Demonstration on the following Saturday (7th May) which will connect with the demonstration in London on 8th May to mark the anniversary of the 2015 election and the dismantling of climate policies since then. Read more about this event.
Following the news in late March about the threat to thousands of jobs at the Port Talbot TATA steel plant, the Leeds event was also an opportunity to combine this message of ‘Just Transition’ through government climate action to our new demands for government action to support the UK steel industry.
We tailored our banner to include the additional message “Save UK steel to build the green economy!”
In recent weeks, KCCC have produced a flyer ( Save UK steel to build the green economy – which was available at the rally) giving our analysis of the situation and our five key demands for the government to protect the UK steel industry, build the green economy and develop lower carbon steel production . We’d be interested to hear others’ thoughts on this.
The UK needs a rapid transition to a low carbon economy and this cannot be achieved without using large amounts of steel. In this flyer, we demand government action to support the UK steel industry to save jobs, defend communities and protect this national asset.
The demonstration was a useful opportunity to take the combined messages of “One Million Climate Jobs NOW!” and “Save UK Steel to build the Green Economy!” out onto the streets around the city centre.
In the post-march rally, speakers addressed a range of themes including austerity, the Government’s Trade Union Bill, the junior doctors’ strike, academisation of schools, nuclear disarmament and climate change.
Read more about how our outreach work connects with our ECO-nomy 2016 campaign.