Public Sector Strike Reports
25th July 2008Alec Thraves reports:
Socialist Party Wales members visited dozens of picket lines across Wales offering solidarity and support and receiving a warm welcome for our special public sector leaflet as well as selling our paper to many of the pickets.
The strike in South West Wales was solid and our members reported overwhelming support for the action.
In Swansea, pickets at the County Hall, Guildhall, Refuse depot, Building maintenance, social services, the Grand theatre and others all reported just a handful, of mainly non union members, crossing the picket lines.
Clive Williams, UNISON shop steward for the Housing Department of the City and County of Swansea said "My colleagues ask me - Do I think this dispute is winnable? I reply, yes I do think it is winnable but it depends on the tactics of the trade union leadership. There are two factors I would like to highlight -
"Firstly, the Labour Party has to be taught a lesson and that is you don't bite the hand that feeds you! The Labour party is funded by the trade union movement and that funding must stop because we aren't get anything in return for the money we are paying out, so that link must be broken.
"Secondly, when industrial action is being considered, the leadership of the public sector trade unions should carry out a ballot simultaneously with a recommendation for strike action and if that happens then success will be very likely. Today's action has seen 99% out on strike and the few who have gone in have been insignificant"!
40 copies of the Socialist were sold in Swansea city centre at a lunch time stall supporting the council workers.
In Llanelli the main council building had a lively picket with hardly anyone going in and similarly at the leisure centre.
Mark Evans, UNISON, Assistant Branch Secretary of Carmarthenshire County Branch, with 4000 members spread across Carmarthen, Llanelli and the Amman Valley told the Socialist that the strike had been solid with the most number of pickets ever!
"The GMB refuse depots have been picketed with no one crossing the picket line, whilst pickets at other council premises were solid, upbeat and reported that very few staff have gone into work. Our shop stewards discussed the excellent response today but felt that 2 days would not be enough to win our demand and that in September we expect an escalation of the dispute. There is a great deal of enthusiasm for joint action with other public sector workers".