Carnival atmosphere with serious message

A packed Barkers Pools for the TUC day of action over pensions
A packed Barkers Pools for the TUC day of action over pensions
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“HANDS off our pensions!”

That was the resounding message from 10,000 striking workers who gathered in Sheffield’s Barker’s Pool yesterday.

There was a carnival atmosphere as teachers, nurses, civil servants, council workers, police workers and lecturers joined the biggest demonstration Sheffield has seen in a generation.

Many brought their children, as 127 city schools shut down and 35 partially closed.

The crowd raised a tremendous noise - cheering, shouting and blowing horns and whistles - after GMB Sheffield’s John Stevenson said: “We want to rattle the windows down at Parliament!

“Let’s send the Government a clear message: keep your hands off our pensions!”

He added: “They want us to pay three per cent to get one per cent back - if we’re lucky.

“Nick Clegg accuses everyone involved with the trade union movement of telling porkies.

“But remember what Mr Clegg said to the students? He is the expert in telling lies - not us.”

John Campbell, Unison representative at the Northern General Hospital, said: “The Government’s pension proposals will be used to pay off the debt which has been caused by the bankers.

Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary, said: “We can’t afford to pay more. We won’t work longer. And we can’t possibly accept less.”

Unite’s Mark Keeling told The Star: “The tremendous turnout shows the level of anger and depth of feeling.”