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Scotland Trade unionist ‘Red Bloc’ forms the core of Glasgow's May Day parade

A “RED BLOC” of young trade unionists formed the core of Glasgow’s May Day parade today, as the labour movement resolved to up the fight for equal pay.

Workers were welcomed to the city’s Festival Hall by a rousing rendition of the song Stand Up, from the Made in Dagenham musical — which tells the story of female workers at Ford who go on strike against a discriminatory pay cut — performed by the Eastwood Entertainers.

The crowd was then addressed by US trade union organiser Jane McAlevey, who said Scottish teachers should take inspiration from successful education strikers in West Virginia and accept nothing less than a 10 per cent pay rise.

Schools north of the border could face a shutdown after teaching unions submitted a 10 per cent claim, saying it would begin to address years of real-terms pay cuts.

“If we can get 10 per cent, you can get 10 per cent,”Ms McAlevey said to cheers in the hall.

The assembly also heard rallying cries from female union reps fighting for equal pay at Glasgow City Council.

The local authority has given up contesting claims from care workers and other low-paid women in the courts, but has yet to cough up the compensation they demand.

Home carer and GMB rep Shona Thomson said: “We’re the cogs for the necessary wheels that make Glasgow work.”

And Unison member Denise Philips noted: “It’s 50 years since the Dagenham women walked out.

“Fifty years on, it should not be happening again. Fifty years later, those [council bosses] who allowed it to happen should be ashamed, totally ashamed.”

Ms McAlevey, who has written extensively on organising tactics, said unions must work for “equal pay between the workers and the bosses” as well as between men and women.

SNP MP Stewart McDonald told the rally: “Rights were never handed down, they were always fought for and won.”

Earlier on, union activists had gathered under branch and trades council banners and marched to the hall from George Square.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard joined party activists on the march.

Meanwhile, a disciplined “red bloc” of dozens of youth activists from across the broad left waved red plain flags and chanted in unison.


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