Plaid council continues Labour/Tory cuts
Carmarthenshire council party change means no change in cuts
Plaid Cymru claimed all the way through the recent General Election campaign that it was one of the "anti-austerity" parties. Having seized power in Carmarthenshire Council from Labour when the Independents changed sides, Plaid has had an opportunity to demonstrate its anti-austerity commitment since May.
But as a recent press release from Carmarthenshire UNISON demonstrates, it seems Plaid's opposition to cuts is as weak as SNP and Green-controlled councils, which have all cut back at the Tories' behest. It is business as usual at the anti-union council as the cuts continue. As the UNISON branch commets below "Its seems when in opposition while not exactly promising the world Plaid offered a few crumbs of comfort to hard working council employees and these have been sacrificed in order to be 'responsible' i.e. to implement Tory cuts."
Mark Evans, branch secretary of Carmarthenshire County UNISON Branch, wrote to Emlyn Dole, the new Plaid council leader:
"Dear Emlyn, Thank you for meeting with Unison on the July 22nd. Unfortunately as we have informed you previously it was disappointing that we had to wait two months dated from our request to meet with you as Council Leader. While we stand to be corrected we feel the length of time we had to wait to meet with you gave us the impression that meeting Unison may have been low on your list of priorities... We appreciate that you are busy as council leader but we represent and speak on behalf of many thousands of members/employees.
"Our disappointment was only added to at the meeting that took place in your room when to our surprise Mark James, Chief Executive was in attendance. We had not been informed prior to the meeting that Mark James would be present. It is our understanding that we requested a meeting with you alone as we wanted to speak with you regarding the future direction of the council led by your party. If we had wanted Mark James to be present we would have requested this.
"During our discussion we raised a number issues with you such as Trade Union facility time where we requested more facility time for Unison and other unions. We raised our living wage campaign but we got no commitment as to when Plaid led Carmarthenshire County Council intends to implement a living wage despite Plaid campaigning for a living wage when in opposition.
"We called on Plaid to oppose cuts and further called on Plaid to implement our UNISON branch's no cuts budget. We pointed out this was a legal budget that would use the Local Authority's reserves etc. We called on Plaid councillors to organise opposition with UNISON to cuts. We reminded you that Plaid when in opposition had produced a budget that advocated using at least some council reserves to prevent cuts to services. The response you gave was that Plaid would act 'responsibly' when it comes to setting a budget. This we took to mean that there would be no change in direction by a Plaid led CCC and that you would be 'responsibly' implementing cuts. We also brought up the issue of outsourcing and re-emphasised our opposition to any form of outsourcing.
"Our summary of the meeting was that you committed the council to very little... It seems to us from what you did and didn't say that Plaid have ditched very quickly any opposition to Tory cuts. Its seems when in opposition while not exactly promising the world, Plaid offered a few crumbs of comfort to hard working council employees and these crumbs have been sacrificed in order to be 'responsible' i.e. to implement Tory cuts."
"People will welcome that you acknowledge that Parc Howard Mansion and Park (in Llanelli) 'belong to the people, and stays with the people'. But what about all the other services the Local Authority provides will these remain the property of the people or will 'creative and innovative' ways be found to outsource council services under Plaid Cymru. No doubt over time resulting in a worse service for Service users and worse terms and conditions for our members and other employees.
"Plaid councillors have a choice just like the Labour led council before them either stand up and fight for services or do the Tories dirty work for them. The very future of Local Government and the vital services we provide is at stake, Local Government reorganisation if it is not paid for up front by the Welsh Assembly Labour Government could cost 15,000 jobs alone. Carmarthenshire County Unison and our members will fight all cuts and defend vital in house services that our communities deserve. We call on Plaid and all other councillors to stand shoulder to shoulder with us against Tory austerity that will continue if not stopped to make our communities suffer for a crisis we did not cause." Yours sincerely, Mark Evans.
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