Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/443/5263
Wales TUC: Socialist Party members make an impact
"A PARTNERSHIP of unions and employers is a partnership of riders and horses. The employers are always in the saddle!" Alec Thraves summed up the reality of 'partnership' agreements while speaking from the rostrum at the Wales TUC.
"We need a partnership between a trade union membership willing to fight and a trade union leadership willing to lead. If it is a partnership between the employers and unions then we want a divorce - and a quickie divorce!" he continued.
The eight Socialist Party delegates made an impact out of all proportion to our numbers. We spoke in a whole range of debates, and we certainly got noticed.
A number of trade unions and trades councils asked us to second their motions or amendments. Brian Curtis, leader of the RMT in Wales, asked us because: "I want a left to second my motion, not a full-time official".
Tony Woodley, general secretary of the TGWU, moved the resolution on the Trade Union Freedom Bill. "How can they make solidarity action illegal?" he demanded. "The gaffer does it when he flies in scabs. Why can't we?"
However, many delegates felt Woodley's fighting words aren't matched by a determination to fight the job losses being suffered by his members in the car industry up and down the country. Nevertheless, his eagerness to position himself on the left is important.
Our amendment on renationalisation of the energy industry was initially opposed by the general council. But they had to reverse that decision when they found there was big support for renationalisation.
Renationalisation of the energy industry is now Wales TUC official policy. A Caerphillu Socialist Party member was elected to the general council from the Trades Council side.
We sold 60 copies of the socialist and 14 General Strike books, while £367.00 fighting fund was raised. We had two good fringe meetings and the profile of the Campaign for Saudi Arabian Trade Union Rights was raised sharply. The Campaign is now officially supported by Wales TUC. Socialist Party member Yahya al-Faifi, worked tirelessly approaching delegates and he has a very large number of promises of support for us to follow up.
In The Socialist 8 June 2006: