People have started sending in reports from their Friday 18 TUC Day of Action events - you can read the ones that have been sent in already below. You're also welcome to send in reports about the activities held at your branch to post on this website, too - the more, the better!
Cambridge Health Unison
The Cambridge TUC organised a lively demo in the town centre. Meanwhile, workers at Addenbrooke's Hospital, the largest hospital in East Anglia, decided to hold workplace meetings about the NHS Pensions Review and highlight people's opposition to key elements of the pensions proposals - namely, the compulsory increase in the retirement age and the prospect of replacing the final salary scheme with a career-average scheme, which will see most people losing out.
About 80 people attend the meetings, and we got a good list of contacts of Addenbrooke's workers who want to join future campaigns on the issue. The day was well worth doing. It's is vital that we keep taking the pensions fight deep into workplaces.
Union convenors and branch officers boarded an open-topped double decker at 9am outside Camden Town Hall as part of the Day of Action! A handful of Camden UNISON members gave the bus a good send-off.
Festooned in red balloons, the bus featured four branch banners (two from UNISON, one from Amicus at Great Ormond Street Hospital and one from the PCS at the Food Standards Agency).
A specially-made banner proclaimed STRIKE NOW TO SAVE OUR PENSIONS and a yard-long sheet on the front window declared Fund Pensions, Not War. Loudhailer announcements roused the ire of the Assistant Chief Executive who contacted Council security to complain.
The bus circled around the Town Hall and another large council workplace with calls over the megaphone to members and the general public to join the 2:30pm rally at University College London, as well urging local government trade unionists to vote Yes in the ballot.
The response was overwhelmingly positive from lorry and bus drivers, and the odd pedestrian. The bus proceeded to University College London Hospital, where a few more UNISON activists boarded. Then we went on to a PCS-organised workplace near Holborn where one steward joined the crew.
We were deprived at the last-minute of the company of UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis, who apparently opted for a photo opportunity on the green across from the Houses of Parliament. Hang on - I clearly left the bus too soon since it eventually went to Parliament Square and through Whitehall, with Dave Prentis and an ITN camera crew jumping on board. The latter interviewed two United Left supporters and NEC candidates in the form of Mandy Berger and Phoebe Watkins, who are also Camden shop stewards.
The vehicle even encountered the bus carrying the IOC delegation which was examining London's 2012 Olympic bid and would have been visible to Blair, who was meeting and greeting at the time.
Almost everyone who took part in the exercise was upbeat about the experience, despite the temperatures upstairs.
With Pensioners Alliance groups, Croydon UNISON, PCS and BWTUC held a lealeting and petition-signing event outside Whitgift Shopping Centre, Croydon's major shopping precinct.
Activists talked with members of public to drive home union's concerns with the goverments proposals for pensions. This was followed by a rally at the Croydon Unison social club with speakers from PCS, TGWU and NUT, and our own London Regional Convenor.
This was a well-attend event covered by the local press. We rounded off the day's action with a joint union delegation visit to local Pensions Minister RH Malcolm Wicks, where we raised our concerns again over goverment proposals.
A joint lunchtime protest between Lambeth Trades Council and the Lambeth Pensioners Action Group (LAMPAG) at included songs as well as speeches as trade unionists and pensioners gathered to protest against government plans for pensions.
LAMPAG leader Gordon McLennan led a rousing chorus of We Shall Overcome, and there was a a series of rousing speeches by pensioner, UNISON and NUT representatives.
A special leaflet designed for the Trades Council was distributed widely to passersby, and the many UNISON shop stewards present went back to their workplaces committed to gaining the largest possible YES vote in the official strike ballot.
Over 100 people turned out for the pensions rally in St Helens Square that was called as part of the TUC Day of Action.
A whole range of public service workers were represented, including council, health service and emergency services workers from UNISON and the GMB, job centre and other civil service office staff from PCS, university workers from the AUT and Amicus, post and telecoms workers from CWU, and rail and bus workers from RMT.
Speakers included UNISON Regional Officer Linda Muir, GMB official John Kirk and PCS Branch Chair Tanya Walker. They all emphasised the need for unity in action between all unions and groups of workers to beat the cuts.
Also welcomed was a delegation from the Yorkshire & Humberside region of the National Pensioners Convention, which acknowledged the support trade unionists have given to their campaign to raise the state pension, and offered their support in defending public sector pensions.
The rally closed with a call for unity and for all present to build for big Yes votes for strike action to stop the cuts.
Hammersmith and Fulham
At Hammersmith and Fulham, UNISON, NUT and PCS reps and members gathered outside Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall from 12pm-2pm to hear from retired members, branch secretary Noreen Morris and the newly-elected NUT Deputy General-Secretary, Christine Blower. All called for an end to the government's attacks on public services and public sector pensions schemes.
Hundreds of leaflets and branch magazines were handed out to passersby, who took a real interest in the event and stopped to talk about the fight for pensions and public-sector services. The local press came along too.
The Islington local government UNISON branch held a lobby of Islington Town Hall at lunchtime to launch the official strike ballot. Members of the GMB and TGWU were also present.
The lobby went very well, with about 100 trade unionists and the local press turning up to hear a rally at which Jane Doolan, Islington UNISON Branch Secretary, spoke. The local NATFHE and GMB/APEX branch secretaries also spoke. Local press from the Islington Tribune and Highbury and Islington Express came along as well.
Two lunchtime marches and rallies were held in Newham, one in Stratford and one in East Ham. Around 150 people —mainly council workers, including TGWU and GMB manual workers—took part in one of the events, and there was great support from people in the streets. We can’t wait to strike...
A very good demo was held in St Peters Square, Manchester, by all reports. At least 200 people took part. Hats off to Geoff Brown, the Secretary of the Manchester Trades Council who'd organised things and made sure of a very good range of unions and speakers.
And the sun shone!
There was plenty of criticism of the Labour government, particularly from the NASUWT speaker and from Gerald Kaufmann, MP. General points made by several speakers including accusations that the government is stealing our pensions and saying that they can't afford to pay us what's ours by right, yet they have money for war and occupation in Iraq, and tax credits on pensions for the very rich, etc, etc.
Another good demo was held outside the gates of the Manchester Royal Infirmary between 12pm and 2pm on the busy Wilmslow Road. There were healthworkers, mostly from the Central Manchester Hospitals UNSION Branch, and also people from Manchester Community and Mental Health Branch, who have a few wards on site.
There was good support, especially from staff who came in from rotation from the wards. We were also joined by members of the FBU, who were very welcome!
There was also great support from the passing members of the public and people driving past. The press and TV reporters were there early on as well.
There were also demos in north Manchester on Rochdale Road near Harpurhey Health Centre and in Chorlton in South Manchester where civil service, local authority, and mental health and community helath staff were all demonstrating close together.
The important thing now is to get even more organised. All of us who will be balloted need to take the pensions argument into workplaces, talk to colleagues and get everyone to vote. UNISON's health members need to push for the implementation of national policy on holding a ballot for strike action, and we need to keep working on the general co-operation and co-ordination between all the unions affected.
There was a fantastic turnout in Bolton. More than 200 people came to the rally and there were lots of good speakers. We're now working hard for a Yes vote in the official ballot.