Gloucester Report

30 November day of action: reports from the frontline

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Gloucester Report

  • 30 November 2011 16:29
My day began with visits to picket lines in Gloucester. Firstly to see some old friends from Unison and UCU at Gloucesteshire College. Although its the lecturers and staff at the college that are affected, it was striking to see the level of interest in the dispute amongst the students, who were all keen to take leaflets and express their support.
Next port of call was the big one - Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. Its sad to see such a wonderful establishment being laid low by such cuts to staffing and ward closures. I was heavily involved in getting funds for the £35m rebuild of this great institution, both of our boys were born there and local people feel a real connection with the place. Over 30 Unison members, mostly nurses, young and first time strikers were picketing. The level of public support was unsurprisingly strong there.
From there I went in to town to show solidarity with PCS members picketing at the Land Registry building. On the way I passed a picket line at Cafcass and stopped to chat with them. As their former minister they recalled my visits to their offices. There were only three people there but they do such important work for vulnerable children that I couldn't resisit when they asked if I would give them a mention at the rallly later in the day. Finally I visited a mix of unions led by Unison outside of Shire Hall.
By 1pm a crowd was assembling at Shire Hall and it continued to swell. I had hoped we'd get around 300 people. Instead we had around ten times that number. We marched to Gloucester Park, where Paul Kenny, myself and David Drew (the former MP for Stroud) made speeches. Representatives from the ATL and NASUWT spoke too. The mood was terrific and the level of turnout unprecedented.


Parmjit Dhanda