Birmingham NUT have called for people to assemble on High Street at 11am as originally planned and to march up to Victoria Square for 11:30am, a call that we support, and ask everyone to go to the High Street, and for those at Victoria Square to wait until 11:30am to leave. Following is the message from Birmingham NUT:
This Sunday should see a good demonstration against the Tories in Birmingham and will be a major regional focus in the fight against austerity, privatisation and profiteering and we hope that unions and campaigns will turn out in force in this stepping stone to the 20th Oct London demo and beyond.
However, the decision of Midlands TUC to change both the time and venue of the demo this Sunday presents a number of problems for us in Birmingham NUT and, we believe, the success of the demo itself. While having a final rally point of Victoria Square is better then originally planned, the decision to change the assembly point AND TO BRING THE START TIME OF THE DEMO FORWARD is, we think, a mistake. In particular, the desire to have the demo leave Victoria Square at 11am will mean that a whole number of people will miss the demo itself.
Therefore Birmingham NUT will still be assembling on the High Street at 11am as that is where our members think we will be. We also know that there are some areas of the Midlands whose transport will not arrive until 11am. 15,000+ leaflets have gone out with this assembly point so we think that we need to ensure that there is a serious contingent of trade unionists there in order to ensure that those coming to demonstrate against austerity can join up with the TUC demo at Victoria Square. We are more then happy to steward the original demonstration assembly point marching up the High Street, onto New Street and up to Victoria Square. This will also mean that the demonstration remains on the busier streets of Birmingham as the proposed TUC route, which despite having a better rallying point, does not hit the main focal points of Birmingham instead concentrating on back streets around Broad St itself.
We are calling on the TUC to delay the start of the demonstration from Victoria Square. Regardless of Birmingham NUT there will be people who will come to the High Street for the original time and I think that we need to ensure that anyone attending our demonstration is able to participate in it.
The key to all of this is to ensure that there is the largest turnout on the demo as possible and for that reason we would encourage anyone who can to spread the word to ensure that people demonstrate against the Tories.
For those interested, the Birmingham NUT backed Unite the Resistance ‘after rally’ has also been moved as a result of the change of demo venues. It will now be at the Council House, Victoria Square at the end of the TUC rally. Speakers include Jeremy Corbyn MP, Joh MacDonell MP (assuming his constituency activities finish on time!), the NUT’s Kevin Courtney, Matt Wrack of the FBU, Ian Hodson of the BFAWU and more.
Deputy General Secretary of Birmingham Association of the National Union of Teachers.