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13 May 2009

Wales TUC: For trade union democracy and for trade union rights!

This year's Wales TUC, meeting in Llandudno from 19-21 May, looks likely to be the last annual gathering of the conference.

Alec Thraves, Swansea trades council delegate

Frustrated and angered at the barrage of criticism aimed at New Labour's big business agenda each year, Brown's trade union lackeys in Wales are proposing to make the Wales TUC a biennial conference with a toothless 'Campaigning and Strategy Seminar' meeting in the year between conferences.

This blatant manoeuvre to remove a democratic, motion based, annual conference will be vociferously opposed by the trades councils and a number of the smaller unions but the block vote of just a handful of the big unions will probably ensure it gets through.

Looking at the agenda of this year's conference adequately explains why the trade union bureaucracy in Wales wants to stop debate and discussion.

Motions opposing the government jump out in every debate. Opposition to Royal Mail privatisation, taking over full control of the banks under state control, socialist nationalisation of companies that fold, re-nationalise public utilities - the list goes on and on!

The rail union RMT's motion to repeal the anti trade union laws takes on a more significant importance this year, with the sacking of Linamar convener Rob Williams, who as a delegate from Swansea trades council will be moving an emergency motion to reverse this brutal sacking.

Coming just before the European elections, conference will also be a platform for delegates to expose the undemocratic, neoliberal European Union.

The RMT-led electoral alliance, No2EU - Yes to Democracy will undoubtedly get a sympathetic hearing from rank and file delegates at the conference and at the lunchtime fringe meeting (details right).

If this is to become the final annual conference of the Wales TUC then Socialist Party members who are delegates, along with other trade union militants, will make sure it goes out with a bang!

Nevertheless, the real work of the trade union movement will continue in the day to day struggles in the workplaces across Wales led by a new generation of socialist fighters.

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