When the TUC voted to consider the practicalities of a general strike, RMT general secretary Bob Crow seconded the motion, saying: "Every single person is representing someone here tomorrow under attack from this rotten government."
For every man, woman and child who marches on Saturday there are hundreds more with the same fears, hopes and aspirations - all over the world.
At the heart of government austerity measures is the desire, and the political will, to dismantle the welfare state, replacing services with charity and food banks.
The demand for a modern effective welfare state which provides in times of need is one of the key messages of October 20.
Brian Golding, GMB convener for Nestle York, says: "The measures that Cameron and Osborne are taking were never in their manifesto.
"It's not democratic what they're putting forward - we never agreed to that as a country."
Golding was brought up in a trade union family. His father, a construction worker, was blacklisted for trade union activity. He struggled to get work, often finding himself turned away from jobs tarred as a "troublemaker."
Like his dad, Golding doesn't sit back sit back and let things happen.
"It's why I do the job I do. I want to make things better for people," he says.
Golding told a recent rally in York: "We've got to fight them, we can't just sit down and let them do it. We saw with the poll tax and Thatcher that they can be beaten. I think we can win the argument, I'm quite clear we can win the argument" - and he's had more experience than some fresh-faced professional politicians.
In the public sector, punitive pay freezes and changes to pensions have led to a culture of terminally low morale.
In a recent staff survey, only 22 per cent felt that "when changes are made in the department they are usually for the better" and just 27 per cent felt changes were managed well.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said that the review "is not being done in an open way in consultation with staff and their unions."
And indeed, as the cuts are ideological, why would there be any attempt to overcome the problems, increase remuneration or develop services?
"The economic crisis is a great excuse [for the government] to get rid of services," says Golding. "If I can put back a little bit to support public-sector workers I will."
Both public and private-sector workers are under increasing pressure.
In Golding's industry there have been pay freezes and well below-inflation pay increases. Margins have dropped. Major supermarkets are under a lot of pressure from budget stores like Lidl and Aldi.
Golding is aware that food manufacturers like Nestle are affected by the recession and the failure of wheat crops will increase costs.
He says: "It's very competitive. The supermarkets, everywhere you go you see offers, Bogofs. Supermarkets put a lot of pressure on manufacturers.
"Manufacturers have to give freebies to supermarkets. The supermarkets don't pay for these offers, the manufacturers do. So if you see an offer, it'll be the producer, the farmer, the manufacturer. It's costing them."
Manufacturers who don't give in to the supermarkets' demands find that products are delisted and removed from the shelf.
Golding says: "Obviously bigger manufacturers can push back because they've got key brands, but even they're under pressure."
This affects workers' wages in manufacturing "because the supermarkets are putting all this pressure on. It affects everybody even if you work for a big multinational company."
Despite the economic squeeze, Golding is positive about the difference that trade unionism can make.
He represents GMB on Nestle European council for information consultation, bringing management and trade unionists from all over Europe together to discuss issues affecting the company and its workers.
The European works council meeting heard details of the recent settlement of conflict at Nestle in Indonesia and Pakistan and affirmed determination to stand together with brothers and sisters at the firm whenever and wherever a conflict situation arose.
Pay and conditions in Nestle York are good, and Golding says: "Because we have a high percentage of people in the factory in trade unions - 97-8 per cent that gives us strength."
A settlement has just been reached at Nestle's Kit-Kat factory on pay and strike action was on the table.
After months of difficult negotiations, Nestle offered a 3.25 per cent salary increase and an additional 1 per cent incentive linked to worker participation in the "zero-accidents" safety process.
Initially, Nestle refused the union's demands for a wage increase taking account of inflation. Some 94 per cent of the membership rejected previous pay offers and balloted on strike action.
Golding is proud that "in Nestle GMB won health and safety awards. Trade unions and the employers work together to benefit our members. That's the trade unions in the modern society, we're working together, we're doing positive things together.
"Occasionally we fall out over remuneration, but you're always going to have disagreements over that, but 90 per cent of the time we're working with companies to help them become more profitable so that they can pay decent wages."
Nestle recently announced that for the first time in over 20 years over 100 new process apprenticeships will be created.
Industrial relations are a delicate balancing act and employees tend to find the scales weighted against them
Strike action is and always has been the last resort for workers who can't afford to lose pay - or jobs.
Golding says: "You don't get very far by getting confrontational in the industry I work for. It's having to work together, negotiate, put your arguments across in an effective way."
However, public-service workers don't have the same bargaining power. The government has no desire to see the sector expand. There is no profitability.
Trade union relations within government have a different agenda to those within the private sector. There is nothing to trade in terms of mutual benefit or growth, which is why broad solidarity within the movement is so vital.
One of the biggest changes that Golding has seen recently is how the trade union movement "is more community-based now. We're involved with the disabled co-operative. We're supporting anti-cuts groups in York like the NHS campaign, we've got similar aims.
"They can see what trade unions are about, it's about collectivisation and looking after each other. I see that as a big step where we can engage with people at grass-roots level around campaigns that matter," he explains.
"All along Osborne and Cameron wanted to sink the welfare state. If there wasn't a financial crisis they would still be doing this. It's a class war and it's without walls, beyond borders."
October 20 is the chance for trade unionists to show they won't be surrendering their principles any time soon.
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