Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition Wales Up and Running
Workers demand a real political alternative
As the first, of hopefully many, trade unions to officially affiliate to TUSC, it was fitting that the opening remarks at the meeting to launch a TUSC Wales steering committee, went to a representative of the RMT.
Steve Skelly from the RMT Council of Executives explained that the government's attacks on his industry, the rail industry, contained in the McNulty Report, threaten the loss of 20,000 jobs. Attacks on this scale demand a political response and a commitment to nationalisation of the transport industry, as well as a trade union fight. As Steve said "The Labour Party is no longer a viable option."
Leading Welsh members and workplace representatives from other unions including UNISON, UNITE, PCS, CWU, GMB, NUJ, NUM, gave greetings and their support to the launch of the Wales Steering Committee in a personal capacity. They explained how their members all need a political alternative that challenges the mainstream acceptance, including by Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, of capitalism, the market and flowing from that, the need for cuts. A number of leading PSC Wales members, said that their union had recently committed to supporting candidates in elections who support the same policies as PCS. As far as they are concerned the political platform that matches the PCS position of opposing all cuts is that of TUSC.
Others in attendance represented important campaigns in our communities, in defence of NHS services, against the bedroom tax and against cuts in council services.
Delegate after delegate reported on how a Labour Welsh Government and Welsh Labour Councils are failing to protect working class communities in Wales from Con-Dem cuts. Labour is carrying through deep cuts in the NHS in Wales, its proposed Bill for Further and Higher Education opens up the entire further education sector to the threat of privatisation and Labour Councils are passing on Con-Dem cuts while refusing to provide any guarantees that poor households that can't pay the bedroom tax won't be evicted.
The launch was enthusiastically embraced by members of the Socialist Party Wales, one of the constituent parts of the coalition that is TUSC. Dave Reid appealed also to other socialist groups, including the Communist Party, to stand with TUSC. He pointed out that they could keep their own identities, even standing under their own names, but coming together under the umbrella of TUSC will ensure the maximum impact of socialist ideas and the maximum representation of trade union interests in elections.
There may not be any planned council, Welsh Government or parliamentary elections in Wales until 2015 but all those at the meeting pledged to be ready as and when by-elections arise and to continue to build the reputation of TUSC Wales in preparation for future battles. Chair of the meeting, Phil Jones, of the RMT, summed up the enthusiasm by putting himself forward for consideration for selection as a future candidate.
Ronnie Job, Secretary, Swansea Trades Council
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