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UK: Unions march for alternative economic choices and growth

EI’s British member organisations are backing their national Trades Union Congress (TUC) call for action and will join a March for the Alternative on 26 March.

The National Union of Teachers, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, and the University and College Union, will join other public and private sector unions in a national day of action.

They have supported calls from the TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, who said “the brutal austerity measures being implemented in Britain, on the back of a series of myths, half-truths and distortions have poisoned our public debate.”

Like Barber, EI’s affiliates in the UK believe that “the government's answer – to slash public spending with reckless speed – is based not on a sound reading of the evidence, but on an ideological zeal to shrink the size of the state,” and that “the so-called reforms in the National Health Service and education threaten the fundamental character of our public realm.”

Teacher unionists consider the Conservative Government’s decision to “spend more on servicing debt interest than on educating our children is just plain wrong” and wish to break down “the myths used by the government to justify its deep, rapid and unfair cuts and set out the case for an alternative based on jobs, investment and growth.”

According to the TUC, four myths exist: that the deficit was caused by out-of-control public spending; without drastic cuts, Britain would become the next Greece; Britain is like a household that has ‘maxed out’ on its credit card, and though it is a great sound bite, and one that the public can easily understand, that there is no alternative.

Barber noted that there is a “need to make jobs and growth the priority, keeping people in work, keeping tax revenues flowing, limiting the huge social costs of unemployment. And rather than swingeing cuts, we need a much more prominent role for progressive taxes - not least on the City and the bankers who caused this mess.”

EI supports the British TUC’s campaign, and calls on all teachers to join the major demonstration planned to take place on 26 March, with a message that pushes for a “genuine alternative with fair tax, growth and jobs at its heart, resonating with the public.”

Related Links (external)

TUC press release

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