The Trade Union organised rallies, in support of striking teachers, lecturers, ambulance and healthcare staff, have helped maintain the momentum in the campaign for fair wages, improved conditions, safe staffing levels and better services. Workers Party members took to the streets in a colourful and high visibility show of support.
While thousands of workers staged a convincing show of solidarity across Northern Ireland, sections of the media and other detractors sought to personalise the issues by focussing on individual pay grades, hyping up the parental and public inconveniences involved and questioning the effectiveness of industrial action.
Yesterdays rallies, and the industrial action of the past eighteen months have been about much more that specific demands. They have been about defending and securing quality public services in the face of a relentless campaign of budget cuts, austerity and the seemingly indifference of major political parties, all of whom have been conspicuous by their absence on picket lines and trade union rallies.
Public services, and wage levels that reflect the skills and dedication of those who provide them, are central to the security and quality of life of all our citizens. Until we have secured a socialist society, the daily battle to defend and develop them continues.