30th June: South West Wales Strike Reports
30th June 2011Teachers, civil servants, lecturers and many other trade unionists converged onto Swansea's Castle Square at lunchtime to rally support for their first day of strike action to defend their pensions and to stop the attacks on their jobs and conditions.
Dozens of picket lines were scattered across South West Wales, from as far apart as the Pembroke Dock Jobcentre Plus to the massive DVLA site in Swansea with Socialist Party members to the fore in organising the action and addressing the rallies.
Without exception, PCS members in the different departments of the civil service reported the best response ever to the strike call.
Dave Warren on the DVLA picket line pointed to the empty car park as a clear indication of his members feelings.
It was the same on the lively picket lines at Land Registry and the Pension Centre in Swansea.
At Llanelli Job Centre the mood amongst pickets was determined and they even recruited a couple of non members who then stayed on to help picket!
Hundreds of schools across the area were closed and a strong delegation of teachers attended the Swansea rally.
UCU at Gower College organised an impressive rally at the Gorseinon campus gates where Socialist party members Carrie Anne Watkins and Alec Thraves were amongst those giving support and solidarity speeches.
Carrie Anne, PCS branch organiser at Swansea Pension Centre thanked UCU for the invite and said 'all workers, private and public sector should unite together, to make sure we have decent public services and a pension we deserve! Alec Thraves brought solidarity from the Socialist Party and said 'unlike Cameron, Clegg and Milliband the Socialist Party gives unequivocal support to the strikers and will assist in building for wider action in the Autumn'.
Between 300 - 400 attended an enthusiastic lunchtime rally at Castle Square in Swansea, with four Socialist Party Members amongst the guest speakers.
Katrine Williams. Wales Chair of PCS, gave another rousing speech and had a huge ovation when she said 'we've had half a million marching, 750,000 striking today and we need 4 million out in the Autumn'!
Caroline Butchers from the NUT highlighted the concerns of young teachers and the damage these attacks are having on the profession. Many young teachers present fully endorsed her speech.
Les Woodward brought solidarity and support from Remploy workers and said they 'fully support the strikers and hoped support from them would be forthcoming if action was needed bt Remploy workers to save their factories from closure'. A big shout of 'Yes' confirmed that solidarity.
Ronnie Job, Secretary of Swansea Trades Council, rammed home the message that is spreading across the public sector when he said 'it wasn't us who caused this economic crisis and we're not going to pay for it. It was the bankers, speculators, spivs and their rotten system thats at fault and needs changing'.
Dozens of copies of the Socialist were sold, hundreds of Socialist Party, NSSN and YFFJ leaflets given out and several potential members met on what was a brilliant strike day in South West Wales. Roll on the Autumn!!!