Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/649/10701
Wales TUC leadership tries to stifle action to stop the cuts
The Wales TUC (WTUC) special conference against the cuts on 26 November would have disappointed any trade unionists who came looking for a real campaigning strategy to defeat the cuts in Wales.
Katrine Williams, PCS Wales chair, personal capacity
General council speakers stressed the need to back the Labour ministers in the One Wales Coalition Assembly government and their draft budget and to cancel the WTUC conference next year.
We have a referendum on more powers for the Welsh Assembly in March and then the Assembly elections next year but a number of the trade union bureaucrats are absolutely opposed to us having a clear industrial response to these events and the movement against the cuts.
Instead they want to tail-end New Labour and stifle any movement against the cuts. The timing of the conference was worked around Assembly (WAG) ministers' availability so that we could spend the whole morning listening to speeches. Although politicians should take note of the Scottish TUC general secretary's speech. He stated that if you sound like a Tory, act like a Tory then you may as well be a Tory.
In fact the most critical speech about the disgraceful actions of two Labour councils, Neath/Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taff, who have issued redundancy notices to their entire workforces, from a Labour Party member was from First Minister Carwyn Jones. But he was intent in differentiating the WAG Labour politicians from Labour councillors attacking their workforces.
However the WTUC bureaucracy were unable to stifle debate as several Socialist Party members and left trade unionists from PCS, RMT and the trade councils made it abundantly clear that there already is vibrant, active campaigning against the cuts.
Andy Richards, WTUC vice president and Unite secretary admitted that in six months of campaigning against the ConDem government, the WTUC so far has supported the lobby of Westminster on 19 October and produced just one leaflet!
However they are obviously concerned about the amount of campaigning taking place. There have been numerous rallies outside the Senedd (WAG headquarters), the successful demos in Cardiff and Wrexham on 23 October and numerous anti-cuts committees springing up.
But rather than joining the campaigning, the WTUC bureaucracy seems to be intent on stifling and controlling the anti-cuts campaign. They want to replace the anti-cuts committees with their own accredited and trained coordinators who will identify appropriate campaigns to support and "ensure that narrow or fringe political groupings" do not use the campaign as a platform for their views.
The WTUC general secretary specifically attacked the Socialist Party in his speech when he moved the debate on cancelling the WTUC conference. He attacked those who advocated a larger scale Liverpool approach for Wales - whilst Welsh Labour councils are currently attacking workers conditions and rights and issuing thousands of redundancy notices!
Working class communities don't have time to wait for the officials to get on board. Public sector cuts and the knock-on impact on private sector jobs could mean the loss of 72,000 more jobs in Wales.
We will campaign hard to oppose all job losses and all cuts in services. We will fully support all trade unionists and community campaigners fighting the cuts and continue to build a strong anti-cuts movement in Wales.
We will continue to put pressure on the Wales TUC and Labour/Plaid politicians to fight the cuts and demand back the £300 million in funding stolen from Wales and prepare for coordinated industrial action to bring this Con-Dem government down.
In The Socialist 1 December 2010:
Youth Fight for Education
Socialist Party editorial
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis