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Demonstrate against the Cons and the Dems

Cardiff Trades Union Council and Cardiff Against Cuts call demonstration at Tory and Liberal conferences on March 5

On March 5th the Tory and Liberal axe-people are converging on Cardiff for their spring conferences. Which gives the anti cuts movement a great opportunity to demonstrate the huge opposition to their campaign of cuts and privatisation. We get to protest at two conferences for the price of one.

Cardiff Trades Union Council and Cardiff Against Cuts have called the demonstration assembling at 12.00 noon outside Cardiff City Hall to march past the Welsh Lib Dem conference to the Tory spring conference in Sophia Gardens.

The coalition government is wobbling under the hammer blows dealt by the tens of thousands of people who have protested against the vicious cuts to jobs and public services they are planning. Fire-fighters have stopped some of the worst cuts to the fire service and Welsh students have prevented another increase in tuition fees and forced politicians back from their plans to cut EMA in Wales.

But the biggest battles are still ahead. There is an urgent need for those who are fighting the cuts to get together, get organised and build support for one another. Len McCluskey, the new leader of UNITE, has joined figures like the RMT's Bob Crow in calling for union members to link up with the students and anti-cuts campaigns across the country.

As the PCS union has explained: there is an alternative to making workers and those who use public services pay for the economic crisis. Collect the 123 billion tax owed to the public purse. Scrap Trident nuclear weapons. Take the running of the banking sector out of the hands of the super-rich. Come to the Cardiff Against Cuts meeting on February 3rd and help to break the cuts coalition.

Open Unite to fight the cuts leaflet as a PDF file

Unite to Fight the Cuts

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South Wales: No to fire service cuts

The South Wales Fire Authority has proposed serious cuts in fire safety, attacks on fire fighters working conditions and job cuts in its mis-named "Risk Reduction Plan". Fire stations in Maesteg, New Inn and Penarth would lose 50 fire fighters posts between them to begin with but already there is talk of the plan being extended. And fire fighters have been threatened with "Self rostering" which would make them work 96 hour shifts!

Fire Service managers are at risk of tripping over themselves in their haste to cut jobs and services in South Wales.

Before the deeply-flawed consultation on the original plan to force through 50 job cuts at stations in Maesteg, Penarth and Pontypool New Inn is comlete, they're already threatening to expand the programme to Ebbw Vale. Adamsdown station in Cardiff could also be demolished as part of another costcutting plan and replaced by a smaller facility and a block of student flats. In just a few weeks the amount of money planned to be cut from the Fire Service's budget has doubled to 10.2 million. It's clear that local FBU leaders were correct to warn of the "thin end of the wedge". In total hundreds of firefighters jobs could be lost and thousands of lives as a direct result of this most callous programme of cuts.

While Labour councillors on the Fire Authority are striking an oppositional pose, Labour Assembly Member Carl Sargeant - who has the power to halt the cuts - has so far refused to intervene or even to comment on the cuts, and Labour Minister Jane Hutt has gone to extraordinary lengths to facilitate the cutbacks. She granted South Wales Fire Service a special "Invest-to-Save" loan to meet the costs of carrying out their cuts programme. While some Plaid AMs have criticised this programme, Plaid councillors on the Fire Authority have remained tight-lipped amid accusations in the local press that they plan to vote in support of the cuts.

But Anti-cuts campaigns and alliances are developing that could hold the politicians to ransom over the issue. Over thirty residents and firefighters agreed to form Penarth Save Our Fire Service campaign at a meeting organised by Cardiff Trades Council delegates and Socialist Party members during August and this will soon be joined by a campaign in Maesteg. A meeting is planned for the 16th September at 7pm in the Harlequins on Talbot St. A noose is tightening around the neck of the Fire Authority that will close on the 27th September at a protest lobby of the Fire Authority, unless councillors pull their neck in and withdraw the plan.

"It shows how far they'll go in making these cuts-they're willing to put our lives at risk. All the rich mates of these politicians have to do is whistle and they get handed billions of pounds of our money and then they tell us there's not enough left to run emergency services!"

Ross Saunders, Cardiff Socialist Party

This was the response of one person who signed the Socialist Party's petition against cuts in the fire service planned for South Wales.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has reported that 50 jobs could be lost as part of the fire service's mis-named 'Risk Reduction Plan'. Three fire stations have been targeted first for cuts - in Maesteg, New Inn Pontypool and also Penarth, which lost 12 firefighters 18 months ago and could now lose another 16.

The fire authority has been ordered to make 4.5 million worth of cuts over five years, first by the last Labour government and now by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition.

Clearly a strategy to reduce fire cover in South Wales exists - and this is from an already low level. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said that 3,000 firefighters' jobs were lost in the last five years under Labour - now the Con Dem government wants to cut into the very bones of the service.

South Wales FBU chair Mark Watt has warned that the cuts faced today are the "thin end of the wedge" and South Wales FBU secretary Cerith Griffiths told the local press that firefighters could have no option but to take strike action to stop the plan. 80 firefighters protested outside the fire authority's last meeting but their request to address the meeting was denied.

Like other public sector workers, firefighters are also facing a pay freeze and attacks on their pension entitlements.

The Socialist Party says:

No cuts to the fire service. No job losses, no reduction in fire cover.

Full support to the FBU's fight to save jobs and services.

For public sector workers to link up to fight the cuts.

Link up the trade unions with service users in local anti-cuts committees and Save our Services groups.

For the trade union movement to call a national demonstration to defend the public sector as a step towards further coordinated action.

For politicians to refuse to implement cuts. Make the billionaires pay for their crisis.

Fighting fire service cuts

Thirty local residents and trade unionists attended the Socialist Party's public meeting in Penarth, south Wales which was called about 15 jobs threatened from three fire stations as part of the misnamed 'risk reduction plan'.

Katrine Williams, president of Cardiff trades council and Socialist Party member, explained that the cuts were not inevitable and an effective campaign could be mounted to oppose the cuts.

Local firefighters outlined the extent to which the proposals would impact on the community and the firefighters' personal lives, with the proposed introduction of 96-hour shifts.

The normally quiet seaside town of Penarth is outraged by the announcement that 18 jobs could go. In less than one week Socialist Party members collected over 500 signatures opposing the cuts and sold over 120 copies of The Socialist.

At the meeting there was an enthusiastic response to the setting up of a local fire service support group, supporting the FBU's fight to save jobs and services. There were suggestions to immediately lobb both local councillors and councillors on South Wales fire authority as the first steps in the community's opposition to the proposed cuts. For further info contact Rob on 07541 145108.

Socialist Party Wales 2015
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