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  1. ITV Report

Anti-austerity rally held in Belfast

An anti-austerity rally at Belfast City Hall on Sunday. Photo: Pacemaker

An anti-austerity rally has been held at Belfast City Hall on Sunday to coincide with a national demonstration at the Conservative Party conference.

Unite and the Labour Party in Northern Ireland are involved in organising the demonstration, which began at 1pm.

It was organised at the same time a protest was held at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

Speaking ahead of the rally, Jackie Pollock, deputy Irish Regional Secretary for Unite said: "We must continue to show our determined opposition to austerity policies coming from whatever source.

"This demo coincides with the 'Austerity Has Failed' protest outside the Tory party conference in Birmingham organised by People's Assembly and shows the solidarity of workers across all parts of the United Kingdom.

"The abject failure of austerity policies to reduce the deficit exposes the truth that they are really part of a corporate agenda to slash the proportion of national wealth going to services and social welfare provisions for working class people. This is about transferring wealth from working-class people to the wealthy."

He continued: "It doesn't matter if you live in Belfast or Birmingham, Limavady or Luton - austerity policies seek to make ordinary working-class people pay the price for a crisis for which we were not responsible. We must stand together to defeat this reactionary agenda.

"As part of the wider grassroots fight back, Unite will continue our campaign to oppose cuts to public services and defend public sector workers." At the Birmingham rally, a trade union leader called for mandatory reselection of Labour MPs and demanded that unions critical of Jeremy Corbyn pipe down and concentrate their attacks on the Conservatives.

John McInally, vice president of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), also called for public sector workers to co-ordinate their strike action to take on the Government.

He addressed thousands of trade unionists at the demonstration outside the Tory party conference.