Anti-poverty challenge

THE GOVERNMENT is to be challenged over poverty and low wages by the Labour Party's biggest single financial benefactor.

Unison, the 1.3 million-strong public service union, is urging anti- poverty campaigners, pensioners and trade unionists to join a march and rally in April to "turn up the heat" on ministers. This will be the Blair administration's first experience of mass protest.

Unison has decided to hold its rally in the North-east which, it points out, has borne the brunt of recent redundancies. The march will finish at the Newcastle Arena on 10 April at a time when the British economy may have been dragged into a recession.

The protest will also come nine days after the introduction of a statutory minimum wage of pounds 3.60, which the union believes should be pounds 4.79.

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