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Carmarthenshire union leader slams Welsh Labour and Plaid cuts

The secretary of Carmarthenshire Unison has hit out at cuts being carried out by Labour and Plaid politicians while claiming to be anti-austerity. In a letter to the Western Mail Mark Evans takes up the claims of politicians from both parties referred to in an article by Martin Shipton. We republish the full article below. The abridged letter published in the Western Mail can be read here.

“As a Branch Secretary of Carmarthenshire County Unison I  read with interest and more than a little incredulity Martin Shipton’s article Labour and Plaid clash over pay cap dated the 6th September 2017.

“Perhaps I should start by establishing some facts first. The Tories have imposed austerity and cuts on us the 99% to line the pockets of their rich friends. The Labour Welsh Assembly Government choose to pass on these cuts to Local Government, the NHS and to working and middle class people in Wales- resulting in lower living standards and a worse quality of life .

“Plaid AM’s in the Senydd including Leanne Wood AM voted with Labour to pass the budget that they full well knew meant voting for passing on damaging cuts. So the claim by Leanne Wood that ‘Plaid Cymru has opposed austerity every step of the way and we will continue to do so’ is factually incorrect.

“It’s incorrect at a national level and its incorrect at a local level where the message clearly hasn’t reached Carmarthenshire County Council (CCC) or has been ignored as here we have a Plaid-led council who are administrators of Tory cuts. They (Plaid) plan in the next three years to pass on £35m cuts to council services and jobs with £14m of these cuts in schools! These savage cuts coming on top of the cuts already passed on by the previous Labour administration will result in severe damage to services and to children’s education. So much for Plaid opposing ‘austerity every step of the way’.

“When Plaid took control in CCC they said there is nothing we can do about cuts and blamed the Labour WAG for passing on the cuts. But they have a choice they can fight austerity ‘every step of the way’ or implement Tory cuts. Ms Woods rallying call to ‘join us in our work against Tory cuts’ is just spin and empty words when members of her own party are choosing to implement cuts in Carmarthenshire.

“We are also fed up with the excuses of the Labour WAG when they claim is nothing they can do ‘without the required funding forthcoming from Westminster’. Both Plaid and right-wing Labour in Wales have failed to mount any serious campaign to oppose Tory austerity and cuts.

“Our branch has produced a No Cuts Budget that we presented to the previous CCC Labour-led administration and the current Plaid-led council. If councils implemented legal No Cuts Budgets (policy of Wales TUC, Unison Local Government Service Group Executive, Unite Local Government and GMB) and with the WAG launched a mass campaign to defeat the cuts this could be the beginning of the end for this weak Tory Government.

“The Pay Cap imposed by the Tories is part of their assault on public services that are vital to the people of Wales, it needs to be smashed. What we need from Plaid and Labour in Wales is not empty words, spin or excuses or but action and support to defeat the pay cap and Tory austerity.

“Mark Evans, Branch Secretary Carmarthenshire County Unison”