Catholic organisations have backed the TUC march and rally next Saturday, 20 October, for 'a future that works.' The march, which starts on the Embankment at 11am, finishing with a rally in Hyde Park aims to build on the 500,000 strong event that took place in March of last year.
There was substantial Catholic support for the first march, with the National Justice and Peace Network involved. Since then, Catholic bishops and archbishops have expressed concern that the burden of the austerity budget is being laid too heavily on the poorest and most vulnerable in society. The Church’s call for policies that serve the common good has increasingly been taken up across the spectrum.
The TUC are arguing for a new approach that emphasises growth looking to areas like green technology to create jobs and wealth. It also argues that the UK’s competitiveness is not being helped by the changes being made to employment laws which make it easier to sack employees and treat them badly. Catholic TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady called on people of all faiths and none to come out and join the protest.
"The tide is turning against austerity. We were told that spending cuts were needed to get the economy growing, yet they have driven the UK back into recession. We were told that we were all in it together," said Ms O'Grady. "It is becoming ever clearer that this government does not have the policies - or even much of a commitment - to build a prosperous economy that can generate the jobs and industries we need for the future. Rather than bold policies for investment and growth, the best that ministers can do is half-baked proposals to make it easier to sack people."
Anne Peacey, chair of the NJPN said: “Members of the National Justice and Peace Network will be taking part in the TUC march and rally to demonstrate their commitment to a future that works for all people.
“In the current economic climate there are many decisions to be made which will affect everyone but especially those with limited resources. People of faith must walk in solidarity with those experiencing great difficulty. We call upon all those with the power to effect change to ensure that fairness and justice prevail and that those among us with the greatest capacity carry their fair share of the burden.”
Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) also backed the march, expressing concern about injustice in the workplace. "It is vitally important that decisions relating to cost savings and economic reforms should neither exacerbate in-work poverty nor undermine labor rights. Workers and unions should always be fully engaged in discussions about changes that will affect them," said Liam Allmark, policy officer at CSAN.