Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Students to Join Unions in March on Tory Conference

When the Tories arrive in Manchester for their annual conference this weekend they are expecting the anger of trades unionists protesting over pension cuts. They know there are many trade unionists opposed to their cuts and closures of services.

They now face protests from the students.

A student 'feeder' march will leave University Place, and meet the TUC 'March for an Alternative' on Deansgate, where students are set to join their teachers to form a lively education bloc on the demonstration.

Jamil Keating, a 17 years old college student from Rusholme, Manchester will be marching. He will also speak on the TUC Rally stage at the end of the March, at No 1 First Street.

'I was raised in Ardwick by my mum. She was a youth worker - but no longer as the youth clubs have all been shut. She is still a family care support worker at Sure Start - but next year that is being cut. I used to get EMA to help me survive - I am losing that now. The Contact Young Actors Company where I have performed is also facing budget cuts. I am struggling with plans for future now because of the raised tuition fees. Every door is being closed in the face of young people today. It's not fair! But we are doing something about it! Students have so many reasons to be marching against the Tories.' Jamil Keating, FE College student.

Sean Rillo Raczka is the University of London Union Vice President and EAN activist. He will be marching in  Manchester 'to show opposition to this illegitimate Conservative government. They are attacking students, workers, the unemployed, pensioners and disabled people. Now is the time for us all to stand up together against ideological right wing attacks on us and our public services. Students will be standing with the trade unions in their struggles'.

At the students' opening rally at University Place at 11.30am Jane Warburton, regional youth leader of the PCS union, will bring support to the students from the trades unions. 'The Tories are not welcome in Manchester. They have made too many cuts to our public services. There is an alternative to the cuts - making the tax gap smaller. We need our public services. We will be marching together on Sunday'.

The student march has been organised by the Manchester Education Activist Network (EAN) which brings students and those working in the education sector together. EAN called many of the student protests over tuition fees last year. This year the fight is over university funding.

"The Tories are launching the biggest assault on university education that we have ever seen. This is reason enough to be marching on Sunday" says James Haywood, of the Education Activist Network.

Most of those protesting will be from Manchester and the North West, but coaches will bring students from London and Oxford.

'I will be there on the day that thousands of Tories gather in Manchester, to make a stand against their attacks on society. At party conference the Tories will slap themselves on the back and prepare another wave of assaults on the public sector so many depend on. Their triumphalism has to be broken by strong mobilisations against them wherever they appear, until they are driven from government.' Nathan Akehurst, Oxford student and EAN.

'I will be demonstrating in Manchester to oppose the Tories while they plan their next wave of attacks on public services. We need to argue that there is an alternative to cuts: make the bankers pay for the crisis that they caused. We need to fight for this and the demo in Manchester is the first step in resisting cuts this term', Jamie Woodcock, PhD student at Goldmiths College, London.

There is no divide between students and workers - both care about pensions. 
'The largest age group of unemployed are below 25 and attacks on pensions could see my generation work until the grave. Students and workers need to unite and fight, because together we can bring down this coalition of cutters'. Samir Hinks, former Bury College student, now studying at University.

Feeder March on Tory Party Conference:

Assemble from 11am at University Place. M13 9PL
Education rally 11.30am - 12.15 pm.
Followed by a march to join the TUC demonstration.  

Called by Manchester Education Activist Network. Supported by: Manchester University Student Union, Manchester Against Fees and Cuts, Manchester Metropolitan EAN, MMUnion, Salford Uni Against Cuts, Xavarian College Students Against Cuts, Bury College Students Against Cuts, Manchester Socialist Workers Party, Occupy! Manchester.

Student coaches drop off point near University Place: Booth St West. 
Student coach pick up points near No 1 First St: Medlock St.

Mark Bergfeld
Education Activist Network

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