Community Event in Leeds Attracts More Than 400

4 Apr 2014

benny148's GMB Community Event 31st March 2014 album on Photobucket

GMB Community Event - Leeds 31st March 2014 - Freedom, Beauty and Equality

How fitting that the GMB should hold an event centred on Freedom, Beauty and Equality 125 years to the day that the union was founded. Will Thorne, founder of the GMB in 1889, famously said ‘There is a world of freedom, beauty and equality to gain’, referring to the hopes of working people in the community.

The event which attracted over 400 people from West Yorkshire included Labour prospective parliamentary candidates, councillors, local election candidates and leaders of the Asian community. 

Imam Qari Asim MBE of the Makkah Masjid Mosque opened the proceedings with verses from the Koran extolling the virtues of harmony and communities working together. Keith Wakefield, Labour leader of Leeds City Council, continued the theme while highlighting the threat to the citizens of Leeds caused by the devastating cuts imposed by the ConDem Government. He spoke of the dangers for those most in need in our society if a Labour Government is not returned in 2015.

Leeds Labour councillor, Javaid Akhtar, also branch secretary of the GMB Yorkshire Professional Drivers’ branch, organised the event along with the key activists of the branch. Aurangzeb Qabal, branch committee member, spoke about the difference the GMB had made to the private hire and hackney trade in Leeds, organising against unfair over regulation, he went on to say that he was totally committed to the GMB and to the Labour Party.

Speaker after speaker praised the GMB for holding the event and for its work in the community. Councillor Naveeda Ikram (first Asian woman city mayor in the UK), Mark Burns Williamson MBE, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Asghar Khan European candidate, Richard Burgon prospective parliamentary candidate for East Leeds, Alex Sobell prospective parliamentary candidate for Leeds West, John Grogan prospective parliamentary candidate for Keighley, Imran Khan Deputy Leader of Bradford Council, councillor Riswan Malik from Bradford, councillors Mohammed Rafique, Arif Hussain and Ghulam Hussain from Leeds, Mr Vakharia from the Hindu Temple in Leeds all thanked the union and the GMB drivers’ branch for the unifying effect of the meeting.

Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary of the Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region, was the final speaker finishing of the event with a rousing speech, attacking the government for the unnecessary pain it was causing working people and their families; he remembered the words of Will Thorne and firmly placed them into context for the community in Leeds in 2014. He spoke about hope and organising for fairness and pledged the region’s support to fight against the privatisation of our services and to campaign for Labour wins in the forth coming Local, European and 2015 General Election.

Community awards were also presented to a number of activists for promoting sports, giving leadership and to the media representatives present.

Councillor Akhtar, said: “This has become the talk of the city.  The event has received national and international coverage in the Asian media. People seemed to like the obvious togetherness of all those present and were impressed at the calibre of speakers.  I keep receiving phone calls from people who attended and the comments I have received are heart-warming, with many saying the event was ‘beautiful’ and ‘unifying’. Social justice seems attainable when we all fight under the GMB banner and this was the best political and organising event that I can remember in my community - the GMB is recognised as an integral part of our lives.