Campaigners have warned that local people are facing even greater hardship as Welfare Reform is set to be accelerated when mitigations run out in 2020.
Protestors from various groups joined Action Against Cuts (AAC) as they staged a dramatic funeral procession to highlight the serious issues facing local people as a result of austerity measures.
Speaking at a rally outside the Guildhall, Kat Healy from AAC said that people were facing very real hardship already .
Kay Healy also said it was fitting that the procession took place on the anniversary of, and followed the route of, the original October 5 Civil Rights march.
People Before Profit Colr. Shaun Harkin meanwhile said the funeral march “speaks volumes about what many people are facing in the city”.
“We know that the anger is growing and growing and growing and growing, and we are determined to keep building a movement, to put pressure on our council, on our institutions and trade union leaders to do more to tackle the devastating consequences that are in our communities right now as a result of decisions made at Westminster and Stormont,” he said.
Strabane’s Michael McLaughlin from AAC spoke of an “ideological attack on the working class”, adding that Derry and Strabane along with Blackpool were among the most impacted regions as a result of Welfare Reform.
Becca Bor from Alliance for Choice said Welfare cuts impacted women in particular, who often had to “scrape around” to feed their families.
Goretti Horgan from Derry Trade Union Council meanwhile said Welfare Reform affected not only unemployed people but those in employment. Like Becca Bor, she said the two child policy was dreadful and also applied to working people, while the benefit cap was felt most keenly by large families.
Goretti Horgan also urged people to join a trade union as it was a means of collectively protecting themselves.