‘Job cuts, no way’ say marchers in May Day protest

PROTEST The marchers set off from Victoria Park.     Pictures: Steve Reid (111611-444)
PROTEST The marchers set off from Victoria Park. Pictures: Steve Reid (111611-444)
HMS Illustrious leaves Portsmouth for the last time
Picture: Shaun Roster

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GOVERNMENT cuts were condemned by marchers who took to the streets of Portsmouth in protest yesterday.

People gathered in Victoria Park before marching to Southsea Common, where speakers railed against money-saving measures.

HAIL Jon Woods talks to the marchers before they set off.   (111611-438)

HAIL Jon Woods talks to the marchers before they set off. (111611-438)

The rally was organised by Portsmouth Against Cuts Together (Pact) and the Portsmouth Trades Council.

Jon Woods, of Pact, said: ‘There were a number of reasons why we held the march on Sunday.

‘One because it was May Day – a bank holiday the government wants to move.

‘We believe it is a significant day for workers and we want to keep the tradition going. Another reason is because we oppose the cuts that the government have issued.

‘More and more people have either lost their jobs or a service has been lost, and that is what we’re protesting against.

‘Only recently Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, has announced it will have to lose staff.

‘There are alternatives this government can look at doing instead of cutting.’

The march was supported by members of Unison, Unite, Communication Workers Union, the GMB and the Portsmouth Pensioners’ Association.

Unison member James Smith, of Havant, was supporting the cause.

The 29-year-old said: ‘This was an opportunity for ordinary, working people to come out and protest about the cuts.

‘The cuts will also have a massive impact on small, medium and large businesses in the area.

‘We wanted to demonstrate to the government that we feel their approach to helping the economy is flat-lining.’

Marchers went down Queen Street, on to Ordnance Row, St George’s Road and Bellevue Terrace before getting to the Common.

Along the way they were chanting ‘job cuts no way, make the greedy bankers pay.’

And joining the protest were students from Portsmouth University.

Sam Bogg is a second year journalism student.

The 20-year-old said: ‘The government is attacking the people who didn’t create this crisis.

‘Instead they are leaving the bankers alone, when they were the ones who caused this.

‘The government is singling out the young people too.

‘The changes made to tuition fees are not good and are not going to help the economy.’