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WORKERS will march through the streets of London today to demand a new deal for working people to turn the tide of zero-hours contracts and bogus self-employment.
Thousands of people are expected to assemble at Embankment at 11am at the demo called by the TUC as part of their Great Jobs Agenda campaign.
Around 3.8 million people are now stuck in unstable employment such as zero-hour contracts, low-paid self-employment or agency work, according to TUC published figures on Thursday.
The union federation said trade unionists were “marching through London to demand a new deal for working people because we’ve had enough of the empty rhetoric from government and employers.
“The TUC is determined not to allow insecure work to become a permanent feature of the labour market. While ministers sit on their hands, we’ll keep fighting for fair pay, decent rights and a voice at work for everyone.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is the keynote speaker at the giant demo.
“The trade union movement created the Labour Party and we will always proudly support working people coming together and organising to transform their workplaces and our country,” he will say.
“Yesterday, I was on the Clyde, a historic centre of workers' struggle. I met shipyard, construction and hospitality workers who told me about the real issues that matter to them, and to most people in this country, but rarely are heard by the political elite. We talked about low pay, bad conditions, abusive management, insecure hours and victimisation if you try and stand up for yourself and your fellow workers.
“Those workplace issues are central to everything we do. We are proud that they are Labour priorities. And we don't shy away from telling it how it is — that many of the rich and powerful dodge taxes and a lot of bosses exploit their workers.”
Other speakers at the rally in Hyde Park will include TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, CWU leader Dave Ward and Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka.
Mr Serwotka said before the demo: “This is an opportunity for workers across the country to come together in solidarity to demand that the government ends austerity, raises the minimum wage and pays public-sector workers properly.
“Our members in the Civil Service have had enough of the pay freeze and cuts to jobs and are now demanding a fully funded 5 per cent pay rise.
“We will continue to talk to the government but our union is resolute and if we cannot reach an agreement, we are prepared to take industrial action if that’s what our members decide.”
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said trade unions would be making it clear that the march is the start, and not the end, of their call for a new deal for workers.
Transport union RMT is also backing the demo.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said they “will be proudly marching alongside our brothers and sisters, health workers, teachers, firefighters and the rest of the working-class men and women who are the very fabric of our society and who find themselves under attack on a daily basis.
“The time has come to end the situation where in the name of profit people pay through the nose to travel on rammed out and unreliable trains, see lifeline bus services ripped to shreds and find themselves unable to access services because there are no staff to provide disabled assistance.”
Stand Up to Racism will be having its own bloc at the demo to say that migrants and Commonwealth-born people are welcome in Britain in light of the Windrush scandal.
“We will be taking an anti-racist message onto the protest, one which says loudly and clearly that migrant workers are welcome here,” the group posted on their Facebook event.
“Contrary to the lies pumped out by the right-wing press and politicians, migrant workers don’t drive down wages. They have always been part of the fightback for better wages for all.”
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