Thursday, 11 March 2010
Labour's broken links with the unions
This week's two-day strike by PCS civil service workers was notable for the solidarity on the picket lines. In Wrecsam, nearly 1,000 workers in the Jobcentre, courts and tax office went on strike and there were lively pickets attended by other trade unionists.
Plaid's Janet Ryder AM, myself and Arfon Jones got a warm welcome (it may have been something to do with the bacon butties) but it was noticeable that no Labour politician bothered to attend one of the biggest strikes locally for years. Of course the PCS is not affiliated to the Labour Party and has been openly critical of the UK Labour government's programme of job cuts in recent years. Other unions such as the Fire Brigades Union, the RMT railworkers' union and my own union, the NUJ, are also not affiliated to Labour. More recently the posties' union - the CWU - has distanced itself from Labour because of its threat to privatise the Royal Mail.
This coalition of unions are becoming more willing to criticise Labour because they see them for what they are, indistinguishable from the Tories. Politicians are openly talking about "savage job cuts" regardless of which one wins the General Election. Little wonder that the most active and campaigning unions are breaking their links with Labour.