HUNDREDS gathered in Salford to celebrate May Day Parade, marking 150 years since the Salford Trade Unions Council was formed.
Unionists and activists waved banners in support of workers’ rights, the NHS, global justice, gender equality and anti-racism campaigns as they marched from Bexley Square on Monday, May 7th.
May Day marchers were welcomed at the Sacred Trinity Church by speakers among which were Reverend Andy Salmon, Kevin Lucas of Salford UNISON, Anette Wright of Manchester TUC, and Rebecca Long-Bailey, Salford and Eccles MP.
“At our best, [trade unions] are much more concerned about everybody, and particularly those who are disenfranchised,” said Rev Salmon.
Kevin Lucas of UNISON highlighted the importance of May Day as a celebration of the working class.
“I’m particularly happy to be celebrating here today in Salford, a city with such proud radical heritage,” he said.
He praised the workers who were “instrumental” in the formation of the TUC after the strike in 1911 and the Battle of Bexley Square in 1931 and the “revolutionary spirit” that lived on.
“Salford is a place where you expect the best of your politicians, you expect change, and you expect them to be at the forefront of that change”.
Lucas also praised Salford citizens for campaigning and pressuring their local government for change while hailing mayor Paul Dennett as one of “the most progressive leaders of local government”.
Anette Wright of Manchester TUC’s speech also referenced the radical roots of Salford and Manchester and the unity between trade unions and the Labour party.
“We have come full circle. Our Labour and Trade Union movement has come together as it always should have been.”
Rebecca Long-Bailey, Salford and Eccles MP highlighted the “horrific” conditions that the working class has faced in Salford since the last meeting.
“People […] are being treated unfairly at work and subjected to the worst pay and conditions“ she said.
“But last summer, something changed,” she said referring to Labour’s success in the general election despite the “smear campaigns” and the decline towards the Socialist ideology.
She ended her speech speculating that a new General Election will happen this year on next year, opening up possibilities for positive changes for the working class.
“Change is coming. And it is going to come a lot sooner than we think.”