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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 February 2010

South Wales: Demo against council cuts

Approximately 300 people attended a demonstration and rally in Port Talbot, South Wales on 20 February.

A Welsh Unison member

Trade unionists from GMB, Unite and Unison and members of the public were present to protest at the proposed threat to jobs, services and terms and conditions by Neath/Port Talbot council.

Full time regional organiser for Unison Eddie Gabrielson told the rally that the demonstration was the start of the campaign. Unfortunately the only practical proposal Eddie put was another demonstration in Neath. Whilst this is to be welcomed what was lacking from Eddie and all others that spoke was a programme of action to defeat the cuts.

Eddie went on to tell the rally that councillors needed to understand what they were doing. Eddie omitted to tell the rally that it was the Labour cabinet of the council that had proposed the savage cuts.

Gwenda Thomas, Welsh Assembly Member for Neath and deputy minister for social services, gave a politician's speech which didn't even amount to opposing the cuts. Not surprising really when the new Labour/Plaid led Welsh Assembly is behind the cuts.

A Plaid speaker laid the blame for the cuts on the Labour cabinet but she appeared to have selective memory loss when she forgot to mention the cuts Plaid have implemented when in control of local authorities in Wales.

There was a definite mood for fighting the cuts amongst demonstrators. Union members in Neath/Port Talbot are going to need to take action, up to and including strikes, if they are going to defeat the cuts, but they must not be left to fight alone.

United, collective and co-ordinated action needs to be organised nationally to defeat the cuts. All public sector and private sector unions need to link up. We need to put pressure on our respective union leaderships to do this.

The turnout for this demo could have been a lot larger if unions like Unison had moblised for it.

Given the vicious attacks public sector workers face, it's time our union leaders mobilised and led our members to defeat the cuts.

Those present on the demo know who caused the crisis. What they wanted to hear was how to fight back. The Socialist Party offers a programme for fighting the cuts but also how to remove the cause of the crisis - capitalism itself.

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In The Socialist 24 February 2010:

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How to stop cuts and defend public services

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