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XR York’s Conor Cooley reports back on the recent social distancing action, held at the Minster in support of our critical workers.

Whilst practicing social distancing, most of our common methods of NVDA are (literally) out of the window. We must therefore adapt them to continue to pressure society.

This is why the current Axe Drax campaign and International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) protests – both of which XR York has been part of – are so important. You can read more about Axe Drax here:, but in this blog post I want to focus on IWMD.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) called for a minute’s silence at 11:00am today to ‘pay tribute to the sacrifice made of so many workers during the pandemic’. This was backed, eventually, by the government. 

However, many local TUCs, unions, campaign groups, and ordinary workers pushed for bigger action, similar to the global climate strike on the 20th September. 

In York, the local TUC has been hosting ‘council of action’ meetings which, among other things, have been planning the IWMD event where several unions and campaign groups laid wreaths outside the Minster.

Wreaths at the foot of the Minster

The groups gathered (whilst observing social distancing precautions for one minute’s silence, and then returned to their homes. The wreaths were left on the Minster’s steps and were collected later that evening.

This show of solidarity was reflected across the country, with actions from Bolton to Newcastle to London.

In the past few weeks, we have also seen workers across the world organising and striking for access to PPE, greater social distancing in the workplace, and continued closure on non-essential industry. 

These are excellent examples of ways we can still fight together but at a distance, and also that a different world really is possible, and workers and ordinary people hold the true power in society when we act collectively. 

Join our weekly Zoom meetings to find out about our current and upcoming campaigns. Details can be found on our website or via our mailing list.


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