Marchers in Manchester vented their rage at the cost-of-living crisis in a national day of action which saw towns and cities across the UK protesting against the crisis and the governments failings in protecting the people most vulnerable to it.
The rally and march kicked off in Piccadilly Gardens on Saturday with the opening speaker Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, saying:
“We are all feeling the squeeze of the cost-of-living crisis. Which is really stacking up the costs to each one of us and families. The bills we have to pay up are getting worse and worse, it’s almost taking us back to the 70’s, it’s the worst actually since records began… what we see from the government is they are trying to protect the companies that are making the billions and not the people. That’s why I think what the People’s Assembly are doing is so important and why we need to be supporting each other and showing solidarity to one another.”
The day of action, organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, also expressed solidarity with the 800 workers sacked by P&O ferries. Darren Ireland, north west regional organiser with the RMT Union spoke of the injustices heaped onto the seafarers by P&O, which is ultimately owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, a country with an appalling human rights record which also has business partnerships with Manchester city council.
Ireland said that what the RMT had witnessed of P&O’s actions since the sackings occurred on 16 March, had been an “utter disgrace” and that the two and a half minute recorded message over a Zoom meeting P&O used to tell their employees they were being sacked “was a massacre.”
The march proceeded from Piccadilly Gardens accompanied by the drums of the PCS Samba Band, with RMT members in the lead carrying a banner saying “Save P&O Jobs: Save Britain’s Ferries.” The marchers stopped in St Anne’s Square and Market St to hear other speakers on the cost-of-living crisis, before returning to Piccadilly Gardens.
When The Meteor spoke to people attending the rally and asked them what needed to change to deal with the crisis, a common response aired was the need to nationalise energy companies.
With the effects of gas and electric prices rising on 1 April, by an estimated 54%, yet to be felt by people paying their first bills following the rise, the number of households feeling the squeeze in this crisis is likely to increase.
The Meteor is a media co-operative, if you would like to find out more about supporting our work – click here.
Featured image: Gary Roberts