Thousands of nurses and other public sector workers are due to march in London tomorrow in what is being billed as the largest union protest for more than 30 years.
The event will see protesters march from Victoria Embankment at around midday to Hyde Park, where a rally will be held against the coalition government’s programme of public sector cuts and reforms.
It is first time since 1988 that nurses nationally have marched together against Government cuts to jobs and services.
The event has been dubbed by organisers the Trades Union Congress as the March for the Alternative. A carnival atmosphere, with brass bands, and dragonfly stilt walkers has been promised.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of the union Unison, which is expected to have the largest contingent of marchers, said: “We do not accept the government’s mantra that cuts are the only way – this is a political choice and there is an alternative.
“Instead of making cuts that are stretching the gap between the rich and poor, the government should use taxation and measures against the banks, including a Robin Hood tax, to spread the burden of the crisis, fairly.
“Keeping up public spending on vital services would help us to recover from the recession, and help communities to pick up the pieces.”
Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “The fact that so many nurses are marching together for the first time since the days of Margaret Thatcher is testament to the depth of their anger about these cuts.
“Nurses are facing a two year pay freeze and widespread cuts to jobs and service. On the ground, nurses are stretched to breaking point and we know that slashing huge number of frontline jobs is jeopardising patient care.”
“Today’s march is a visible and tangible way for our members to register their serious concerns.”
TheRoyal College of Midwives general secretary Cathy Warwick said: “Planned and potential cuts to the NHS could be extremely damaging to maternity care, mothers and babies.
“We worry that cuts may be happening by stealth by actions such as freezing vacancies and reducing the use of bank and agency staff. These cuts will mean fewer midwives working in the NHS, putting greater pressure on existing staff and could put more pressure on a maternity service that is already buckling under the weight of the demands on it.”
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