16:00 And that's the end of today's live blogging.
But before we go, a special message from UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis:
"This has been a tremendous day. A day when hundreds of thousands of us spoke with one voice in Belfast, Glasgow and London and told this vicious Tory government that we demand a different future than the one they have planned for us.
"We demand a future that works
"Today is just the start of our campaign: health workers, council workers, education workers, police staff, workers in the voluntary and community sector and many more ... all standing up for public services.
"I want to thank UNISON members from across the UK who took time out to speak out against austerity and to make these marches in London, Glasgow and Belfast such a success.
"Thank you - and have a safe journey home everyone."
15:40 Bedfordshire hospitals worker Jenny King, one of 30 members from Bedfordshire on the march, has a message for colleagues who were unable to make it here today: "You have missed a great day".
15:30 Current TUC general secretary lays it on the line: "Britain faces a choice - a future of despair or one of hope and recovery.
"Our choice is clear: we want a future that works. Cuts, privatisation and attacks on employment rights are the road to nowhere.
"Tens of thousands are still walking along Piccadilly and coming into the park. Tens of thousands have marched in Glasgow and Belfast - all with a united message to this government: 'Austerity isn't working'."
Newcastle hospitals branch member Linda Hobson and her son Ben enjoyed the event.
"It's been a brilliant day," says Linda.
"Yeah, it's been good," agreed Ben15:05
Incoming TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady tells the crowd: "Thank you for marching today in your tens of thousands. Thank you for standing up against the tax dodgers, the greedy bankers and this government.
"Join me in sending them this message: 'End this austerity'.
"At the Conservative conference, Cameron said he wanted to spread privilege. We know what he is spreading - and it doesn't smell good!
"If George Osborne won't sit in a rail carriage with us, let us tell him: 'Get on your bike!'"
She added that when she becomes TUC general secretary next year: "I will fight as hard for our people as that lot fight for theirs.
"Stay strong: united we stand."14:57
Dave Prentis tells Hyde Park rally: "If there is money available to bail out the bankers, there is money available for the NHS and our schools and to get young people back to work.
"Today we march - tomorrow we march on.
"We march for decent pay that people can live on. We march to defend the NHS. We march to defend our community services. We march for a future that works.
"To the Tories we say: 'Hands off our public services, they are not yours to destroy'.
"We're told there's no alternative - but there is. The government could have the guts to go back to the banks and say: 'You got us into this mess - you get us out of it'.
"We're not here today for the millionaires - we're here for the millions."14:55
Big cheer as Dave Prentis pays tribute to UNISON members marching in Glasgow, Belfast and London and welcomes South African and French trade unionists marching with us.14:51
Dave Prentis starts off by saying David Cameron and Nick Clegg are forming a boy band called No Direction. On a more serious note, he points out that inequality is at levels not seen since Victorian times.14:49
Dave Prentis speaking at Hyde Park rally now.14:45
Ed Miliband says Labour would "tax the bankers' bonuses ... End the privatisation in the NHS" to huge cheers.
"One nation is a country where we give hope to our young people ... A country with a future that works."
No cheers though when he said there would still be "hard choices" under Labour.14:35
Ed Miliband takes the stage at the rally, saying he's "here today to join with people of all walks of life...
"Let us say today that we stand with nurses who want to defend our health service.
"None of these people thinks the country owes them - they just want fairness.
"While this government thought they were born to rule, they're not very good at it." Cameron is weak and clueless, he said.14:25
Festival atmosphere in Hyde Park: music on big screens, ice cream, burgers and hog roast, queues for toilets …and mud.
But still the marchers come pouring in.14:20
Police have given a provisional figure of today's London march - so far - at 100,000.
People are still entering the park, though - including Havering UNISON, who have just got here.14:16
Merseyside police staff branch have rested their banner against a tree and all 14 of them are enjoying a well-earned rest.
Flasks of tea and sandwiches are out as they prepare for their four-hour coach trip home.
All agree it's been a great turnout - as one said: "It needs to be, to make this government listen."14:15
Speakers at the rally in Hyde Park now calling for an end to the government's austerity programme, which sees Save the Children funding children in the UK for the first time.14:10
All over in Glasgow, people heading home feeling elated and energised.14:05
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber tells Press Association:
"We are sending a very strong message that austerity is simply failing. The government is making life desperately hard for millions of people because of pay cuts for workers, while the rich are given tax cuts."14:00
STUC Better Way campaign says: "Thanks to all of #SCOct20 in Glasgow: marchers, stewards, speakers, organisers & tweeters. More than 10,000 participated! #Oct20"13:55
Spotted in Hyde Park: Young woman wearing big badge saying "penniless nurse" and carrying home made placard that reads "Government of the plebs by the plebs for the plebs".13:45
Last part of the UNISON section reported to be at Piccadilly Circus.
So, says our reporter, it's taking around 35 minutes for the UNISON contingent to pass any one spot: working on 300 people passing in a minute, that works out at at least 10,000 members on the London march.
But at times, there were a lot more than 300 a minute passing by - so the UNISON turn-out might be as high as 20,000.13:40
Crowds are streaming into Hyde Park, ready for the rally.
The balloons may have gone, but there's still UNISON's colours everywhere.13:35
Latest report from Belfast puts the march there at 15,000 strong.
In London, meanwhile, the massive job of deflating all the balloons that have accompanied members through London begins, as they're not allowed in Hyde Park.13:32
UNISON Scotland reports that pictures from the Glasgow march are now on the UNISON Scotland website
The head of the UNISON section is comfortably in Hyde Park now.
North Yorks UNISON, meanwhile, report that they've made it to Nelson's Column!13:29
UNISON Scotland secretary Mike Kirby speaking at Glasgow rally.
"Ordinary people are being asked to pay too high a price," he declares. "Key public services are under attack and politicians need to be told that 'enough is enough'.
"Trade union members, their families and friends know that the drastic spending cuts and attacks on benefits are hurting them and are hurting the most vulnerable people in society." 13:25
Another UNISON banner roll call:
- Camden and Islington community health;
- Housing associations branch;
- Hampshire and IoW police branch;
- Greater London Authority;
- Oxford City LG branch;
- University College Hospital;
- Bristol city;
- Lancashire police;
- UNISON Filipino nurses;
- UNISON Black members;
- Gateshead health;
- Northern region;
- Devon County;
- Rhondda Cynon Taff branch;
- Oxfordshire county;
- Cornwall LG;
- Darlington LG;
- Cambs county;
- East Lancs health;
- Kingston hospital;
- UNISON pride in or work banner, national LGBT committee;
- Greater London UNISON LGBT;
- Pride in our union balloon;
- Sheffield Hallam branch;
- Wolverhampton LG;
- Barking and Dagenham;
- Waltham Forest;
- Dudley Group of Hospitals;
- Sussex partnership branch;
- Sussex healthcare;
- South East region;
- Pennine Care health branch;
- Hounslow LG;
- University of Southampton;
- London Probation Trust.
In London, UNISON contingent is passing a clothing shop opposite the Royal Academy, plastered with 'closing down' notices.
Another business burning while Osborne fiddles.
The UNISON section of the march stretches from Hyde Park back to Piccadilly Circus and beyond.
200,000 here today - and an awful lot from UNISON, says TUC speaker in Hyde Park, adding: "All I can see is UNISON."13:15
In Glasgow, Duncan Smith says: "I'm marching against cuts to benefits, pensions and the welfare state."13:10
We're hearing the head of the London march has now entered Hyde Park.
The back of the march is still on the Embankment waiting to move off.13:00
Front of UNISON section reaches Piccadilly Circus.12:57
Cambridgeshire police staff branch standing in Trafalgar Square wearing No to Police Privatisation T-shirts, and with banner, shake hands with Dave Prentis as UNISON arrives in the square.12:56
And that's another UNISON member being interviewed by a TV crew …12:55
Trafalgar Square and the pavements are crowded, many people with placards and banners of their own - and more UNISON members.12:50
Central Manchester healthcare branch standing on Horse Guards parade applaud and join UNISON contingent.12:45
Shout-outs to some UNISON branches and regions we've spotted on the march so far.
- UNISON Vale of Glamorgan branch - hello!
- Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust branch - we can see you!
- And Harrogate Local Government too. It's purple and green everywhere.
- Greater London - we can see you!
- Nottinghamshire university hospitals branch - we can see you!
This is UNISON and we are on the march!12:40
In Scotland, UNISON Tayside police staff banner gets its last outing before the merger of eight police branches into one.
Thousands are gathering on Glasgow Green for the rally.12:35
And a big bonjour to our brothers and sisters from across the Channel - that's eight CGT members flying their banners alongside UNISON today.12:30
Around 5,000-10,000 reported taking part in Belfast rally.12:26
UNISON contingent now entering Parliament Square - a blow for democracy.12:25
Nisha Barmar of central and south west London health branch:
"The way they're redesigning the NHS, I'm not happy about it. People are losing their jobs - and services - that's why I'm here."12:20
Head of the London march now approaching the Cenotaph.
East London Brass band providing a pleasant traditonal sound and putting a spring into UNISON delegation's step on London march.12:15
TUC Austerity is Failing
bus with speaker on top deck who cries: "UNISON - there's so many of you here."
Yes, we are many and we are stronger together. In UNISON. 12:10
In Glasgow, the front of the march is reaching Glasgow Green while there are still people coming out of George Square.12:05
UNISON Leeds and York community health branch reports around 40 members on the streets of London, marching for a future that works.12:02
Belfast march has also set off and is taking the No Austerity message through the streets.12:01
And the latest report from the Embankment is a succinct "We're off!!!"12:00
Glasgow march now moving through the streets and reporting cars hooting and people waving in support.11:55
Jane Carolan is in London from Scotland. "It's a great day for building the future fight," she says "This is a beginning - not an end in itself."11:52
Four generations of one family singing "Why are we waiting?" as we approach the time to march off.11:50
"We're here because we want the cuts to stop" says Isle of Wight health branch chair Doreen Britton.
"The disabled and the elderly are feeling the pinch. Services have been cut and there have been lots of job losses."
Steve Traler, estates worker and rep, adds: "And they're trying to privatise our health service by the back door. There's no communication at all." 11:46
And as we near the off, it's UNISON purple and green as far as the eye can see!
And John Lennon's Imagine
is booming from a speaker somewhere - crowd singing along.
At the same time, the trumpets and the drums, the vuvuzelas and the whistles are creating a cauldron of noise as the sun comes out from behind a layer of cloud in London.11:43
Notts county joint branch secretary Martin Sleath is one of 100 branch members Marching in London.
He says: "We've lost 20 per cent of our full time establishment - 2,500 jobs gone in last three years and more to come this month
"We are in middle of a three-year programme of £180m budget cuts.
"We're here to oppose this jobs massacre and the attacks on the most underprivileged and vulnerable in society.
"For example, six of the council's homes for elderly were privatised in March.
"This includes one called Branwell, which was rated excellent pre privatisation. In June, the Care Quality Commission found that residents were at risk because of unsafe level of staffing now it's been privatised."
Mersey Travel have brought down 25 members who run the trains, ferries and tunnels on Merseyside.
Branch communications officer Steve Cook says: "We're facing funding cuts the same as everywhere else which can only affect services"11:30
As we near the time to start marching, young people are at the forefront of people's minds - especially the UNISON contingent.
They need a future, they deserve a future and the austerity policies of the government are denying them that.
Those little children, who have made such a statement about wanting a future, are getting sweets as a thank you now. It's more than they'll get from this Con-Dem coalition.11:25
UNISON president Chris Tansley: "It's a wonderful turn out from UNISON members, showing their strength yet again, and telling the government its austerity measures aren't working."
Vice president Maureen Le Marinel: ""Fantastic atmospher well done to all unison activists and their family. And thanks to our staff too!"11:15
March getting under way in Glasgow as "the sun shines on banners bright".11:10
Why we're marching in London, Glasgow and Belfast: because they want and need a future that works.
The press corps crowd around as a group of children, dressed as public service workers, join Dave Prentis to add their voices to the call for a future for themselves.
Amanda Kerr: "I'm marching in Glasgow for my children's future." 11:00
Sean Donnelly says he's joining the march in Glasgow "to show the etonians that we won't stand for their contempt any more."10:58
In Glasgow, David Harrold says he's marching because "I'm concerned about the effect of austerity on the services we give the public."10:55
General secretary Dave Prentis is surrounded by cameras, explaining to media why we're here today.
"We need growth. We need jobs, especially for our young people. There is an alternative. It can be done," he tells Reuters TV crew10:54
UNISON's team on the Embankment is still busily handing out flags and banners - it's a riot of colour and the noise is amazing.10:51
Wendy from West Mercia police says simply that she's "fighting for what's right."10:50
Three voices from Milton Keynes health branch.
- Val Freestone: "I'm here to try to stop these silly austerity cuts and support the rest of them."
- Bernard Atkins: "I'm marching against the cuts - and marching for autism awareness: many people with these conditions are suffering because the services these people need are being denied them."
- Gill James: "Like the others, I'm marching against various cuts and especially those in the NHS."
In London, the Met are handing out a little booklet on march safety, including tips such as "Don't be afraid of police horses" and "how to complain".
"The Metropolitan Police Service hopes that you have a safe day," it says.
"The police are here to help you have a peaceful demonstration." 10:45
Austerity is biting, Sunderland children's services convenor Diane Wright tells UNISON that there is an alternative.
"So far weve bucked national trends and we've had no mass redundancies at the council," she says,
"We've been having success with Sunderland's Way of Working, a three year programme operating an internal jobs market so that the council recruits from within wherever possible."10:35
Wendy Nichols of Yorkshire and Humberside region has travelled down to London because "we have to tell this government: 'Enough is enough'. They have to sort out their millionaire friends and stop attacking the poorest in our society."10:33
The atmosphere is building.
Lots of families are here, from small children who will never have seen anything like this before, to grandparents who are marching again - this time for fairness and a future for those youngsters.
Meanwhile, a contingent of 40 from Hull City branch are having their own march along the Embankment with banner flying, to join the main UNISON contingent at the front of the march.10:30
Thomas from West Wycombe is 11 and today is his first ever demonstration.
He's here with his mum and dad, and says: "My family are members and we're here because it's right."
Spot on, Thomas - have a great day.10:28
In Glasgow, George Square is preparing for the start of the march, lots of people gathering already and excitement is building.10:25
Victoria Embankment closed off now and marchers are beginning to form up - at least 10 times more UNISON people than any other unions so far. Well done the early risers!
An ITN camera crew has just set up in the middle of the growing UNISON contingent.
Only to be asked: "Where's your purple and green, lads!"10:20
Dave Hodge of Lancashire Police is here today "to try and stop the government privatising the police force - because policing should not be for profit but should be about helping people."
West Yorkshire police branch secretary Garry Bull adds: "The police and crime commissioner elections on 15 November are really important for our members.
"If we get the wrong intake of PCCs, we'll end up with the privatisation agenda. By law, police constables can't be made redundant - our members can."
And Milton Keynes branch chair Frank Reedy reports that "over 20 members from health and local government are here."
Branch secretary Fran Bower says: "We're seeing the effects that austerity and cuts are having on people who use our services and on the people in our workplaces."10:17
Weather flash: UNISON Scotland reports that the sun has poked through the clouds to welcome thousands of marchers to George Square in Glasgow.10:15
Tom and Pat Chinnery from Bedfordshire explain: "We're here because we've got a young granddaughter and we want her to have a future - and she hasn't got a future at present."10:10
And from Edinburgh, we hear that the last bus has just left for the march in Glasgow.10:05
Sefton branch from Merseyside arrives on the Embankment.
Branch secretary Glen Williams reports: "We left Sefton at 4am. There were 120 of us on the train - more than last time including many low paid workers
"We've had to scoop our banner out of the Thames. The wind blew it in and it's sopping wet - we've been sold down the river!"10:00
Our intrepid team on the Embankment reports: "A trio of police on motorbikes have just given thumbs up signs to UNISON members."
And from George Square in Glasgow we hear: "It's all happening in the people's square: placards, socialists, leaflets, gazebos n high viz vests." 09:55
Dave Prentis at the Embankment. Says: "It's a tremendous day already, with a great atmosphere: UNISON marching for our public services and our future."09:45
There's already a party atmosphere as vuvuzelas and whistles are heard - and passing cars and vans toot support.09:40
A sea of purple and green is swelling by the side of the Thames on London's Victoria Embankment as UNISON members gather to march for a future that works.
Down by the riverside the crowds are gathering - UNISON balloons, banners, flags and placards and the purple haired people09:35
Our youngest protestor Musa Ntanda-Bwanika, 8, here from Manchester wiith mum, a Manchester benefits worker, and dad, a teacher in Trafford.
"I'm here to support my mum and dad and to campaign against the cuts," he says.
Ready and waiting on the Embankment
Latest bulletin from UNISON preparations at the Embankment: "Four UNISON balloons inflated so far - 12 more to go!"09:05
Senior customer service worker Kim Silver of London says:
"I'm here to protest against the severe austerity cuts Cameron's bringing in.
"We've had no pay rises for three years and our bills keep coming in and going up. It's more of a struggle to pay them."
Housing worker Gloria Hanson tells us: "I'm here to show my disgust and demonstrate it by marching.
"It's the attitude of the government: they tell us to just suffer a bit more, but I don't see them suffering.
"Getting here today, public transport's up the spout but they travel first class and don't even bother paying." 08:51
UNISON members marching in London please note: UNISON gathering 100m east of Embankment Tube next to Victoria Embankment Gardens.08:50
Our friends @UnisonEastAyr tweet:
"It is not even 9.00am and it looks like thousands of UNISON members are en route to Glasgow, Belfast & London and on Twitter #Oct20 #ScOct20"08:45
From Scotland we here that that it's "dry in glasgow at 8am :-) get down to george square for 11! #SCOct20 march + rally for A Future That Works" while @UnisonEastAyr tweets "Good luck to the plebs from Ayrshire who are marching today in Glasgow #SCOct20 for Man To Man the world o'er shall brithers be for a; that"08:40
And the first UNISON member arrives at the London assembly point on the Embankment.
Thomas Kenah a nurse at East London NHS Trust in Tower Hamlets tells us: 'I'm marching to stop the cuts, the reductions - it's not helping, that's why I'm here."
The first banner up on the Embankment is Greater London region (no surprise there).
Maggie Ferncombe says: "We're here because we want to stand up for public services, tell the government that enough's enough and we want investment to build growth in London."08:35
And here's what we know of our members' travel plans so far:
- 41 coaches are travelling to London from the South West.
- 33 coaches, plus trains will be travelling to London from the West Midlands.
- The North West region has chartered two trains from Liverpool and Manchester, carrying approx 900 people to London. They have block booked more than 400 further train tickets from towns including Lancaster, Preston and Chester, as well as more than 5 coaches.
- From the South East of England more than 30 coaches and one train will be bringing people to London.
- More than 30 coaches are travelling from the West Midlands. Hundreds of marchers will be going by train. Passengers will include healthcare students who are concerned about the new NHS Health & Social Care Act and the dangers of NHS privatisation. A local Samba band is also travelling down to London from Birmingham University.
- More than 40 coaches will be arriving from eastern England to London, with branches also organising train travel.
- More than 20 coaches are arriving from Wales to London, with more than 100 marchers booked onto trains.
- Several buses will be bringing marchers from around Scotland, with most people making their way on public transport.
- More than 250 UNISON members from the north east are booked onto trains and buses.
- 23 coaches and scheduled trains will bring more than 1,000 people to London from Yorkshire and Humberside.
Just some of this morning's Twitter activity:
- @UnisonLeicsPol - "Good luck to all attending #oct20 today we will be tweeting throught the day, hope to see you there :-)
- @SotonUnison - "Full coach at Southampton District Branch up to London! #20oct #afuturethatworks"
- @UNISON_HumbPol - "Stood waiting for our coach at the Humber Bridge to go to London #20oct"
- @UNISONdcbrach - "Going to #20Oct@futurethatworks? then get help in your pocket with smartphoneapp to access maps, logisitical info etc tinyurl.com/d8t753k"
- @smithsonrac - "@unisontweets London bound- sussex community health branch UNISON"
Meanwhile, word from the Embankment in London is: "Preparations commence! 17 balloons ready for inflation, hundreds of flags, thousands of vuvuzelas and placards".
And we're off. Social media already full of @unisontweets Tweeters (hashtags #Oct20 #20oct #afuturethatworks) and Facebookers logging their journeys to London, Glasgow and Belfast from all parts of the UK.
On 20 October tens of thousands of people will gather in London, Glasgow and Belfast to march for a future that works.
They'll be taking to the streets because they believe that government spending cuts and privatisation are not the way to get us out of recession. Instead, these cuts are standing in the way of delivering the jobs and growth that we need.
UNISON members believe cutting vital public services hurts the most vulnerable members of our society. People who can least afford to pay the price of the recession caused by the bankers.
We also know that austerity isn't working - and most forecasts suggest that we face years of stagnation. The coalition government has got it wrong and they need to replace austerity with policies to create a future that works.
We care about healthcare, education, local services and policing. That's why we are marching on 20 October. If you care too, join us.
Together we can send a strong message to ministers to insist they deliver an economic policy to create jobs and growth, a society that benefits from world class public services and a commitment to a fairer future.Live blog begins at 8am Saturday 20 October