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Wednesday 19 February 2014

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TUSC on the march in Canterbury

TUSC supporters on the Canterbury march to save children's centres, 15/02/14, photo by Dave Semple

TUSC supporters on the Canterbury march to save children's centres, 15/02/14, photo by Dave Semple   (Click to enlarge)

Kent trade unionists and parents from the Save Kent Children's Centres campaign marched through the centre of Canterbury on Saturday 15th February in protest at the closure of twelve children's centres by the Tory county council, with a strong presence by supporters of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Following two previous demonstrations and thousands of names on a petition, Kent county council retreated from its initial proposal of closing 23 children's centres. The protests of parents, underpinned and organised by socialists in the trade unions, forced a backtrack on eleven centres.

In the last week, however, up to 300 staff at the children's centres have been told that they will have to re-apply for their jobs, as opening hours of centres are reduced and the council seeks to strip out resources. These resources include fully qualified teachers at each centre.

The TUSC banner leads the Canterbury march to save children's centres, 15/02/14, photo by Dave Semple

The TUSC banner leads the Canterbury march to save children's centres, 15/02/14, photo by Dave Semple   (Click to enlarge)

Saturday's march culminated in a rally addressed by David Lloyd from the Unison branch responsible for the workers in these centres. He slammed Kent county council for ignoring its own procedures and failing to heed a parents' petition to refer the decisions on closures back to the full council. Parents and workers are under no illusion that the full council would decide differently, but it would give more space to build the campaign against all closures.

During the rally, local library campaigners from Strood and Whitstable spoke about the need to link up the campaigns. Support was voiced from every quarter of the room for a campaign against all cuts. Mike Sargent from the RMT executive and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee received hearty applause when he demanded election candidates who are accountable, unlike any of the main parties.

The mood is there for a political alternative to austerity, even in the heartlands of Tory Britain.

Canterbury Times, 15/02/14

Canterbury Times, 15/02/14   (Click to enlarge)

TUSC's part in the march has also been reported by the Canterbury Times:

"Hannah Arnold, from the Save Kent's Children's Centres campaign, said she was delighted with the turnout... Trade unions are backing the campaigners, and Mrs Arnold thanked members of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition for their support."

Read more at: http://www.canterburytimes.co.uk/Dozens-turn-children-s-centre-protest-march/story-20645084-detail/story.html#ixzz2tla5E3H1