Event in Wigan celebrates workers and reflects on Covid

Trade unionists gathered in the town centre to mark International Workers' Day.

Wigan Trades Council organised the Mayday event in Believe Square.

The ceremony was launched with a performance by Wigan’s Samba Band and included speakers from Unison, the National Education Union, Unite, the ambulance service union, the campaign to fight against the controversial new policing bill and the bakers’ union.

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The event organised by Wigan Trades Council in Believe Square

Organisers said this year’s event was a chance to reflect not just on the movement’s history but on the issues thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past 12 months.

A Wigan Trades Council spokesperson said: “It is a day we confirm our struggle against intolerance and racism and stretch out our hands to workers from everywhere, whatever their language or nationality, age or gender.

“It is also a day we remember the millions of workers who have worked throughout this terrible pandemic to ensure millions of other workers can sustain themselves. And a day to remember the thousands who have died.

“But we cannot bottle up the anger at those who have profited from the crisis, who have shamefully helped out their friends in high places.

The International Workers' Day event in Wigan town centre

“We are inspired by the achievements of workers’ struggles of the past and our hopes for the future, despite the enormous difficulties governments and employers have put in our way to improve the quality of our lives.

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“All of our speakers highlighted the difficulties we face today in our workplaces today, but all pointed a way forward in fighting for a better future; to joining a union, organising amongst ourselves and making demands for a better life.”

Wigan’s MP Lisa Nandy also sent a message of support to the rally which strongly attacked the Government over its handling of the novel coronavirus.

She said: “‘During this pandemic, in our schools and hospitals, our supermarkets and factories, on our buses and trains, there are people who have shown true heroism, putting themselves at risk to get us through this pandemic.

“But while they went out and fought for us, the Tory Government has yet again refused to fight for them. They clapped for our nurses then denied them a pay rise, praised our key workers and then denied them the vaccine, attacked our teachers and school staff and left our care staff without the PPE they needed, while all the while splashing the cash when it came to contracts for their mates or luxury flats.”

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