‘We are told we are all in this together but we are not’

Eamon McCann addresses the May Day rally in Guildhall Square on Saturday last. DER1717GS006
Eamon McCann addresses the May Day rally in Guildhall Square on Saturday last. DER1717GS006

Hundreds of people gathered in Guildhall Square at the weekend for the annual May Day rally and march through the city centre.

Representatives from numerous local unions and rights based campaigns held aloft banners as they were led off from Guildhall Square by the JayDee Brass Band on Saturday afternoon.

UNISON's Niall O'Carroll addresses the May Day rally in Guildhall Square on Saturday last. DER1717GS009

UNISON's Niall O'Carroll addresses the May Day rally in Guildhall Square on Saturday last. DER1717GS009

Earlier, those gathered had been told that there was an urgent need to mobilise for the abolition of zero hour contracts, secure workers rights’ and force an end to low wages at a time when more and more people were struggling to make ends meet and increasing numbers resorting to food banks.

Liam Gallagher, Secretary Derry Trades Union Council said the interests of working people must be protected as he opened the rally, while Niall McCarroll, unison representative, said everyone had the right to just and fair conditions at work.

“But tell that to the nurses who were offered a meagre 1% whilst MLAs were offered 11%,” he said. “Teachers are also denied respect. Community workers- no pay rise for some in over a decade,” he said, while also expressing concerns for those employed in Supporting People projects.

“Of course not everyone has these worries,” he said. “The number of millionaires in the north is rising and the pay gap continues.

“We are continuously told there is no money, we are all in this together but we are not.

“There appears no end of money when it comes to slaughtering children in Syria and Libya.

“Do workers have enough money to buy food and clothes? Well the increase in the use of food banks and the very real fact people are struggling would indicate the answer is no.”

Mr McCarroll said the standard of living across local communities was being eroded.

“If we don’t take a stand and mobilise through workers’ led revolution then we are saying that are rights are unimportant. We need a workers’ led revolution to end corporate greed.”

He added that it zero hour contracts needed to be abolished and called for proper safeguards for “the sick, disabled and unemployed”.

He added: “Here’s a startling statistic: people have died from suicide since the Good Friday Agreement than died during the Conflict.”