People’s March for Jobs, 1981

People's March for Jobs, 1981

People's March for Jobs, 1981

With unemployment now rising fast once again, this is a badge which will stir some rather pointed memories of the recession of the early 1980s.

The People’s March for Jobs set off from Liverpool on 1 May 1981 to draw attention to the plight of the unemployed. Every day, thousands of supporters joined the core 500 marchers, culminating in a rally at Brockwell Park in south London on 30 May. 

The march was organised by the North West, West Midlands and South East regions of the TUC, and consciously drew on the hunger marches of the 1930s.

During the march, Labour MP David Winnick drew attention to the plight of those who were without work, pointing out that 6,000 people were joining the dole queues every day while 400,000 had been out of work for more than 12 months.

Unemployment continued to be a major economic problem, blighting people’s lives for years to come. A second People’s March for Jobs took place in 1983. On their arrival in London, the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher refused to meet a deputation.