Tagged: Jarrow March

Jarrow Crusade-style march to campaign for the NHS

A crusade aimed at evoking memories of the famous Jarrow March arrives in the town next weekend.

The People’s March for the NHS is a campaign dedicated to preserving the founding principles of the NHS and ensuring its staff are afforded the treatment they deserve.

The march – which deliberately echoes the Jarrow Crusade for jobs in 1936 – has already called in at Tredgar in Wales and Bristol.

On Saturday, March 28, marchers will gather in Jarrow.

 The protesters will meet up with members of South Tyneside Public Service Alliance (PSA) at Jarrow Town Hall – where the original 200 marchers set off almost 79 years earlier.

The alliance has organised an event to highlight a last-ditch plan to save the under-threat Jarrow Walk-In Centre from closure.

Merv Butler, chairman of the Alliance, called on the public to turn out at 11am to hear a host of speeches from, among others, Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.

He said: “It is vitally important that we prevent the closure of the facility. The event will focus on the need to keep it open and we want as many people there as possible to show their support.”

It seems clear that the outcome of the General Election will determine the centre’s fate. Labour has pledged to keep it open if elected.

The Conservatives are putting the decision in the hands of an independent adjudicator.

Mr Butler, branch secretary of Unison South Tyneside, added: “Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has given his party’s assurance that it will be saved.”

Source – Shields Gazette, 21 Mar 2015

‘I’ll cut my pay in half if I win’ – TUSC Jarrow election candidate

MPs should be content with pay packets a third of the size of those they get now, according to a socialist bidding to become Jarrow’s next representative at Westminster.

Norman Hall thinks it’s outrageous that our Parliamentarians are set to receive salaries of £75,000.

The semi-retired software engineer believes that puts them out of touch with ordinary working people.

That’s why the 59-year-old, of Gateshead, has pledged his support for proposals for MPs to receive no more than the salary of the average skilled worker.

He said: “That would mean they receive between £25,000 and £30,000 and are living the same lifestyle as the people they represent.

“It would help them to directly understand the issues that affect working people.”

Mr Hall, representing the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) at the general election on Thursday, May 7, is also campaigning on an anti-austerity platform.

He said:

“All of the six major parties are parties of austerity.

“They are all in favour of cuts. Our stance is simple. We are saying no to austerity.”

This is the first time that Mr Hall has stood for Parliament, but he has made two bids to become a councillor in Gateshead.

Originally a member of the Labour Party, he became disillusioned with what he says was its “lack of support” for the miners during the strike of 1985 and 1985 and joined the Socialist Party, and it allied with trade unions to form TUSC in 2010.

The union coalition plans to stand in more than 120 seats across the country in May, including Washington and Sunderland North, North Tyneside and Newcastle East.

Mr Hall, a married stepfather of two, said:

“The coalition is exactly what it says on the tin.

“I’m well aware of Jarrow’s heritage stretching back to Ellen Wilkinson, and in 2011 I was involved in the Youth Fight for Jobs, which marked the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow March.

“I’m from Wallsend, and it shared with Jarrow many of the problems that stemmed from de-industrialisation.

“In terms of what support I’ll receive, that’s somewhat up in the air, but it’s clear that people are disillusioned with the mainstream parties. We are here to give the working class an alternative voice, one against austerity and against the cuts that took place under Labour and the Tories.

“It started under Alistair Darling, who made ordinary people pay for the banking crisis. The working class needs a new voice.”

TUSC opposes all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions and rejects increases in council tax, rent and service charges to “compensate for government cuts”.

The party also supports nationalisation of the banks and the financial system, is against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and all secret austerity treaties.

The other candidates standing in Jarrow on May 7 are: Stephen Hepburn (Labour), Stan Collins (Liberal Democrat), Steve Harrison (UKIP) and David Herbert (Green).

Source – Shields Gazette, 16 March 2015

New ‘Jarrow March’ reaches London

The People's March for the NHS

A group of north east mothers and other campaigners who staged a modern-day ‘Jarrow March’ to protest at the privatisation of health services arrived in London at the weekend.

The People’s March, which followed in the footsteps of the famous 1936 Jarrow Crusade, began in mid-August.

After leaving Jarrow, the protest took in more than 20 towns and cities, with union activists and other supporters joining the six women from Darlington.

Organisers said 5,000 people took part in the last leg from Red Lion Square in Holborn to Trafalgar Square, where they were addressed by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.

Speaking ahead of the rally, Mr Burnham said the “Darlo mums” symbolise the concern felt by millions across the UK for the future of the NHS.

He said:

“Surely even the great Nye Bevan couldn’t have imagined a group with more faith and fight for his NHS than these Darlington mums.

“In them, David Cameron has more than met his match and their fighting spirit will give hope to people everywhere that the NHS can be rescued from the damage caused by his Government.”

A Department of Health spokesman said:

“Use of the private sector in the NHS represents only six per cent of the total NHS budget – an increase of just 1% since May 2010.

“Charities, social enterprises and other healthcare providers continue to play an important role for the NHS, as they have done for many years – however, it is now local doctors and nurses who make decisions about who is best placed to provide care for their patients.”

Source –  Shields Gazette,  08 Sept 2014

Jarrow March tribute’s facelift unveiled

REVAMP ... Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and the Mayor, Coun Fay Cunningham,  are joined by councillors as they unveil the plaque for the Jarrow March.

REVAMP … Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and the Mayor, Coun Fay Cunningham, are joined by councillors as they unveil the plaque for the Jarrow March.

 

 

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham, performed the unveiling of the refurbished plaque at Jarrow Town Hall.

Originally given to the marchers by the former Jarrow Borough Council, the plaque was badly in need of repair.

But members of Jarrow and Boldon community area forum stepped in with a £468 grant towards the refurbishment costs.

Coun Jim Perry, forum chairman, said: “The Jarrow March remains very much in the hearts of local people, so I’m delighted to be able to pay homage to their memory with this plaque.”

Coun Cunningham said: “The Jarrow Crusade was a defining moment in the history of the borough, the region and the country as a whole. The plaque is a testament to the marchers’ efforts to highlight poverty – an issue as relevant today as it was at the time of the march in 1936.”

Following the closure of Palmers Shipyard, the town’s main employer in the 1930s, 74 per cent of all workers in Jarrow were unemployed.

As the march was launched, most of the town’s working population was still on the dole, sparking crippling poverty and record infant mortality rates.

After novelist JB Priestley visited Jarrow in 1933, he wrote: “I have seen nothing like it since the war. There is no escape anywhere from its prevailing misery.”

Priestley added: “Wherever we went, there were men hanging about, not scores of them, but hundreds and thousands of them.

“The whole town looked as if it had entered a penniless bleak Sabbath.”

It was against this desperate backdrop that the Jarrow Crusade – as it was originally called – was organised, with around 200 men setting off from Jarrow Town Hall on October 5, 1936, to march to Westminster to demand work for the town from Stanley Baldwin’s government.

The marchers covered more than 290 miles, but received little support from the powers-that-be when they reached London.

Employment in the town only rose significantly when Palmers Shipyard was reopened as part of the war effort.

Source – Shields Gazette,  19 July 2014

NHS campaigners will recreate the Jarrow march

Health campaigners will retrace the steps of the original Jarrow Marchers as part of their fight to protect the NHS.

 Several hundred people are expected to take part in a mass rally outside Jarrow Town Hall on Saturday, August 16, before a group of NHS campaigners head off on the 300-mile march to London.

Evoking memories of the famous 1936 Jarrow Crusade, when 200 jobless men marched from the town to Westminster to demand work, the event is billed as The People’s March for the NHS, with health protesters aiming to cover up to 16 miles a day, reaching the capital on September 6.

The 999 Call for the NHS campaign has already won the support of various organisations, including the TUC.

> That’s ironic… with the original Jarrow Crusade, the TUC of the day circularised Trades Councils advising them not to help the marchers.  The Labour party also opposed it. And probably still would today.

Beth Farhat, regional secretary of the Northern TUC, said: “This march is being organized by a group of mums in Darlington, emulating the Jarrow March, but in aid of saving our NHS.

“I am helping them organize a rally in Jarrow on August 16, to set the march off.

“They have gained support from many organisations up and down the country, including trade unions.”

Rehana Azam, one of the rally organisers, said campaigners are opposed to many of the changes to the NHS introduced by the Social Care Act 2012.

She said: “We are opposed to what we see as the sell-off of the NHS by this Government,

“We aim to raise awareness about the issues and hope the rally in Jarrow will attract major media coverage.

> Given the recent media lack of enthusiasm about rallies of 50,000 people in London, perhaps best not to expect to much…

“There should be several hundred people massing outside Jarrow Town Hall on August 16, before the march sets off for London.

“We will be campaigning on the NHS and also against things like the bedroom tax.

“The plan is to have support from people like the Mayor of South Tyneside and there should be key NHS workers and trade unionists involved in the rally.

“About 1,500 have registered to take part in the march along the route, with about 50 people marching all the way.”

For more details, log on to www.999callfornhs.org.uk

> For the record, when the original Jarrow Crusade reached London, the Prime Minister of the day, Stanley Baldwin, refused to see any of the marchers’ representatives, claiming it would set a dangerous precedent.

Source – Shields Gazette, 26 June 2014