Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Cardiff anti-cuts alliance
This Tuesday just gone (21/09/10) Cardiff County Trades Council held a public meeting. The purpose of which was to discuss the impending public sector cuts, those which have already been announced, some of which have already been carried out and those cuts expected to be announced next month as part of the government’s spending review on October 20th.
The meeting was well attended with n seats left over for any late comers. A definite sign of the mood to fight back against the public sector cuts. There were platform speakers from a variety of trade unions including the PCS, RMT, CWU and Unison and speakers from the floor representing a variety of other trade unions, student groups, community campaigners and many others. This alone should reflect the scale and the desire to fight back against these cuts.
Speaker after speaker explained how the cuts will affect them; CWU members spoke about postal privatisation and the need for the whole community to campaign to stop this from happening. Pensioners explained the change that moving pensions from the retail price index to the consumer price index pointed out that this will reduce the living standards of pensioners and stressed the need for trade unionists to fight for pensioners rights. Youth fight for jobs activists stressed the need for all workers to help them fight against rising youth employment which is clearly linked to the fight to stop jobs cuts. The list went on and on.
Throughout the evening it became more and more clear that there was a desperate need to link up the struggle to save jobs and services with other campaigns. Some campaigners pointed out the lessons learned in recent years in Cardiff, when the council proposed to close 22 schools in the city and then attempted to play campaign off against each other, in an attempt to get campaigners arguing for some schools to be closed in order to save their own. It was pointed out that if this did happen and different campaigns were divided then we would all loose out.
More and more speakers were making it clear that there was a need to set up a campaigning body which included all sections of the community to oppose all cuts. Other speakers disagreed, pointing out that we should support cuts to the banks, the politicians, to the replacement of trident nuclear weapons and to the military funding which allows young working class people to be sent to fight a rich man’s war in Afghanistan.
It was agreed at the end of the meeting to setup Cardiff anti-cuts Alliance which will start its campaigning activity very shortly and will aim to unite all campaigns that spring up against cut backs in the area into a united campaign to oppose all cuts to public services. Towards the end of the meeting one speaker from the floor said, I want to see council staff on demonstrations to oppose postal privatisation I want to see postal workers on demonstrations to oppose cuts in education; I want to see students standing side by side with striking workers. Only by standing together and supporting our individual struggles will we be able to stop these cuts.
This is clearly a big step forward for anti-cuts campaigning in South Wales, particularly as this initiative as followed in the footsteps of a recent initiative by Swansea Trades Council.