“The Silk Mill Turn Out”: March, Rally and Peoples Festival Derby Saturday May 27th 2017

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Derby’s pivotal role in British history is about to be highlighted again as the Derby Silk Mill  Turn Out march, rally and People’s Festival approaches.

The Festival, organised by Derby Area Trades Union Council and Derby People’s Assembly will follow the traditional annual Silk Mill march and rally which goes right back to the 1833-1834 struggle by Silk Mill workers against unjustified pay cuts  and bullying management, and for the right to join unions  – a situation which will be familiar to many young workers in precarious work today. The struggle, which became a General Strike in Derby and the Derwent Valley, led to the establishment of the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union – the first manifestation of systematic trade union organisation in Britain and the world.

“We are celebrating the achievements of the workers 180+ years ago, and committing ourselves to continue to fight for rights at work, social progress & end to austerity, exploitation and privatisation. Given the General Election being called, this commitment takes on an additional significance of course!” said Moz Greenshields, Secretary of Derby Area Trades Union Council. “This is a festival for ALL Derby people – to remember the past and fight for the future”

With just two weeks to go before the Silk Mill Turn Out events on Saturday May 27th, expectations are high. Cathedral Green will see a mixture of heavyweight s from the trade union, labour and working class movement, high energy live bands, stirring anthems, and performance poetry and comedy from MC, Attila the Stockbroker. It will be a family affair with community stalls, kids activities and a variety of food and drink on sale.

  • Jeremy Corbyn has asked his close Labour Party colleague Chris Williamson – the Party’s candidate for Derby North, to attend and speak, and the
  • General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, Matt Wrack, and
  • the ex -President of the RMT, Alex Gordon will also be taking to the stage.
  • Others taking part include well-known local campaigners Sue Arguile of the NUT’s Stand Up For Education campaign,
  • Marcus James of the SOS NHS health campaign,
  • Sonya Rowbotham of Hope Not Hate, the anti-racist organisation.
  • Over 30 different community organisations are running stalls to show off their work.

Each year, a commemorative flower chaplet to the 1834 workers is laid at the gates of the Silk Mill that were locked against them. This year these will be laid by Steph King – a local teacher who is a tireless campaigner against the threat posed to workers by the use of asbestos in the workplace. The unsafe working conditions faced by workers in the 19th Century continue today: Ms King’s father died of an asbestos related illness, contracted in the 21st Century workplace.

The Festival, which follows the speakers, includes “Waspi Women” – Women Against State Pension Inequality ,  exciting live  bands Headsticks, The Rioters and Skalinskis and stand up performance poet Attila The Stockbroker.

The event begins at 10am in Derby Market Place, from where the demonstration “March For The Future! For NHS, Schools, Jobs, Homes & Industry” will set off around the time.  Led by the speakers and Derby’s  exciting  Indian community Bhangra Band & Dancers the march will make its way to Cathedral Green for speeches at 12 noon followed by the Festival at 1pm

More information

Moz Greenshields,  Secretary, Derby Area Trades Union Council

01629 541855

07979 230175