'Stand up and be counted': Aberdeen TUC holds May Day rally in Castlegate
Updated: May 2
Campaigners from Save Aberdeen Libraries and Save Bucksburn Pool addressed the demonstrators
By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco
Photo Credit: Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco
Demonstrators marched down Union Street Saturday morning as Aberdeen Trade Unions Council held its annual May Day parade.
Led by the sound of pipes and drums, campaigners with Save Aberdeen Libraries and Save Bucksburn Pool marched at the head of the column, which included over one hundred trade unionists, activists, politicians, and community members.
The group was headed toward Castlegate, where campaigners and union representatives went on to address the crowd throughout the lunch hour.
Recent cuts to public facilities were a key theme of the day’s events, as demonstrators called on Aberdeen City Council to reopen six libraries and a swimming pool closed across the city.
‘I think small and local is beautiful,’ Save Aberdeen Libraries campaigner Rebecca Diansingu told demonstrators, referring to a 1973 book by economist EF Schumacher. ‘Local libraries and local swimming pools are beautiful. Let’s save them.’
Save Bucksburn Pool campaigner Kirsty Fraser also addressed the crowd, telling onlookers that it was time to ‘stand up and be counted.’ She announced that the campaign group had officially expressed interest in acquiring Bucksburn Pool as a Community Asset Transfer, a designation which would prevent the Council from stripping or demolishing the site.
‘We hope for our campaign to spread inspiration and empowerment to other communities,’ Fraser said. ‘We hope to unite and form a foundation of cross community support, making sure our elected leaders are doing right by their constituents.’
In addition to activists and community groups, a number of local politicians attended the rally, including Labour Councillors Nurul Hoque Ali, Deena Tissera, Lynn Thomson, Kate Blake, Jennifer Bonsell, Sandra MacDonald and Barney Crockett, as well as Greens MSP Maggie Chapman.
Speaking to The Gaudie, Chapman described her attendance as an important act of solidarity. She said: ‘I’m a trade unionist. I’ve been for as long as I’ve been a worker… May Day gives us the opportunity to come together as different trade unions, different community groups, different campaign groups and stand together, because solidarity is so important, especially at a time when we are seeing so many attempts to divide communities…’
‘In Aberdeen at the moment,’ Chapman continued, ‘there are so many public services that people are crying out to be protected and it's really important that as a local MSP I’m here to show my solidarity in their struggles too…'