Enough is Enough – Bath Stands Up (1st Oct 2022)

Local film director Ken Loach joined hundreds of local protesters including trade unionists, climate activists and local campaign groups at an ‘Enough is Enough’ rally and march on Saturday 1st October in central Bath. It was part of a National Day of Action which saw thousands upon thousands of people from all walks of life taking to the streets in towns and cities across the country in a stand against government economic policy.

The national rallies coincided with several national union strikes across the UK, including rail and postal workers in Bath. The rally, led by Extinction Rebellion Samba band, joined the RMT rail workers’ and CWU postal workers’ picket line in Brunel Square by Bath Spa train station after gathering at Orange Grove.

Enough is Enough is a campaigning organisation founded by trade unions and community organisations that has been gathering huge momentum over the last few months across the UK.

“We are determined to push back against the misery forced on millions by rising bills, low wages, food poverty, shoddy housing – and a society run only for a wealthy elite. We can’t rely on the establishment to solve our problems. It’s up to us in every workplace and every community.

Fair pay, affordable bills, enough to eat and a decent place to live. These aren’t luxuries – they are your rights”.

Our 5 demands are:
– A real pay rise
– Slash energy bills
– End food poverty
– Decent homes for all
– Tax the rich

The protests came after the pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since the 1970’s following the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng’s new mini budget. Mr Kwarteng told the BBC the measures “favour people right across the income scale”, despite claims that only top earners would benefit from the proposed benefit cuts.

The rally was co-organised by Bath Campaigns Network and Bath Trades Union Council supported by Bath Extinction Rebellion Climate activists, Extinction Rebellion Trade Unionists (XRTU) and Bath Just Stop Oil (JSO).

“The cost-of-living crisis and the climate crisis have the same causes and can be solved with the same solutions”.

Ken Loach, who spoke on the picket line, said:

Absolute solidarity with railway workers, with postal workers, with dock workers and everyone who takes action. They are fighting for us. Their demands are for us. The railway workers’ demands are not only about a decent wage, which everyone deserves, but also about safety on the railways. We don’t hear much about that. They are fighting for safety and they are fighting for services for the passengers. If the ticket offices are closed it would be a disaster for senior old age pensioners like some of us here because we depend on the ticket office. I am a bit worried that some unions say this is an industrial dispute and not a political one. It is a political dispute because it leads to political demands. The demand is a publicly owned, integrated public transport system, a transport system which is ecologically sustainable.”

Robin White, Bath based RMT rail worker said:

What we’ve got now is a world that’s basically falling apart. It’s falling apart from a climate point of view, it’s falling apart from a social point of view. People are not joined and they haven’t been for years. Thatcher destroyed social cohesion in this country. We all borrow more than we can afford, we can’t pay it back and when the bosses push us around they realise they can, because we can’t afford to go on strike. Well, I can’t afford to go on strike but I’m buggered if I’m going back to work while they’re making money the way they are. Enough is enough.

Extinction Rebellion Trade Unionist Theo Simon said:

You’re hearing on the news about ordinary working-class people breaking down because they don’t know if they can feed their children that week, they don’t know if they can keep their home, they don’t know if they can afford their bills. I’ve really had enough of that. And I’ve had enough of sitting having breakfast with my daughter before she goes to college in the morning, the radio’s on and we hear of yet another thing happening with the climate breaking down, with the species being faced with extinction and then we hear that there is a target of doing something by 2050 which is as much good as calling an ambulance to an emergency and it turns up two hours after a pensioner has died. I’ve had enough of that too”.

Mike Carley, secretary of the Bath Trade Unions Council said:

Everyone here has turned up for the same reason. Enough is enough and this has to stop. It hasn’t just been going on for a week and it hasn’t just been going on for a year. It hasn’t just been going on for twelve years. This has been going on for forty years. This is the result of the outright criminality of highly motivated people who have been robbing us for forty years. They’ve stolen the railways and the royal mail. They used to be ours. They’ve stolen our telephones, they’ve stolen our means of communication, they stole our buses, they have stolen our water They have stolen everything that isn’t bolted down.  The only reason they haven’t stolen the air is they can’t get a meter up our noses. But they will try at some point. They will try to make us pay to breathe, unless we stop them. There is not going to be an election for two years so it falls on us. Take a good look around. You are in good company. You are in the company of those who stand up for themselves. You are in the company of those who stand up for their mates and they stand up for anyone else who needs it”.

Many thanks to the Bath University Left Union students who supported this event e.g. banner making, stewarding, safe road blocking and leading the chanting on the march. We very much look forward to working with the students in the future.


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