Manchester to become trade union bill battle ground as thousands of protesters plan march against government

 
Catherine Neilan
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TUC is organising the march (Source: Getty)

The UK's biggest trade unions are planning to target the Conservatives' party conference with a major rally and march throughout Manchester next Sunday.

Coaches are being organised to take anti-austerity protesters from various points around parts of England and Wales to the centre of Manchester on 4 October. The march is expected to take place between 12pm and 1:30pm, when demonstrators will hold a rally outside Manchester Central.

As many as 80,000 people are said to be taking part in the protest, which will attack the government's economic agenda and trade union bill with the slogan "no to austerity, yes to workers' rights".

The TUC, which is coordinating the event, said: "Trade unions have a proud tradition of standing up for workers, their families and the services everyone uses. So now the government is threatening the right to strike.

"In the trade union bill, they propose to make it harder for unions to take strike action to oppose their cuts. They want to make it harder for workers to speak out - allowing employers to use agency workers to break strikes and putting huge restrictions on pickets and protests. In short, they want to silence millions of union members and threaten their right to strike.
So we all need to speak out now. March in Manchester on Sunday 4 October and tell the Conservatives that we say “No!” to austerity. And tell them that workers need a voice. That trade unions give workers a voice. And that instead of austerity, it’s a resounding “Yes" to workers’ rights."

But protesters could be met with a "ring of steel" around the conference venue, where 12,000 delegates and exhibitors are expected to descend for the fourth time since 2009.

According to the Manchester Evening News, the metal fence will be erected around Manchester Central this week, while a series of road closures are also being put in place.

Affected roads include Mount Street, Windmill Street and Peter Street, while Manchester Central NCP car park, certain pay and display bays and some disabled parking areas will be closed from 10pm on Saturday 3 October.

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