Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/581/7356
The Socialist 27 May 2009 |
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Wales TUC conference - no good news for New Labour
The Wales TUC annual conference, from 19- 21 May demonstrated, as in previous years, the failure of New Labour in government to win the support of ordinary trade unionists across Wales.
Andrew Price, delegate, Cardiff trades council
New Labour support was restricted to the top layer of full-time officials. A growing number of lay trade unionists oppose New Labour. The Socialist Party is clearly emerging as the leading force to the left of New Labour in the Welsh trade union movement.
Before the conference started the leadership suffered a defeat in their anti democratic move to shift the conference from an annual to a biennial one (see The Socialist 578). A sheepish Wales TUC general secretary had to announce that the rule change was withdrawn in favour of a "root and branch examination of WTUC structure".
Socialist Party member Rob Williams' name was prominent. As convenor at the Linamar car plant in Swansea, he has been subjected to brutal treatment by plant management. Rob was part of the Swansea trades council delegation and his sacking evoked great anger and support for his position from delegates.
He joined Bob Crow and fellow European election list candidate Rob Griffiths at a No2EU-Yes to Democracy meeting, attended by 50 delegates, where he condemned his treatment by management.
Rob's comment that the No2EU list is the only opportunity that trade unionists will have on 4 June to cast a vote against the Tory/New Labour anti-union laws went down well.
In the conference, the emergency motion opposing his sacking was moved by Rob on behalf of Swansea trades council and seconded by Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of Unite. It was passed unanimously. Every delegate stood up to applaud Rob and a bucket collection for the hardship fund raised over £380.
On the conference floor some of the programme of the Socialist Party on the recession was accepted, as was our position on welfare 'reform' and Royal Mail privatisation.
By the end of conference, 48 copies of The Socialist had been sold and £220 raised for the Socialist Party's fighting fund. We left confident of victories in current and future battles, compared with the sense of foreboding felt by the bureaucracy.