Wednesday, 22 June 2011

'I can't afford to die'

There was a full house at the Catrin Finch centre tonight to hear various campaigners linked to TCC, the campaigning charity based in Wrecsam.
The stand-out speech was by Sue Henderson about the price of funerals. She opened with the unforgettable words: "I can't afford to die".
As a self-confessed "gobby" low-paid worker she's done some research into the cost of getting buried. It's difficult enough to cope with a bereavement but the lack of regulation and the lack of an upfront pricing system means that the more unscrupulous funeral companies can sting relatives for £4,000 or more. I wish her and Yvonne Price well in their campaign, which deserves a wider audience.
There were also valuable contributions from Ruth Drake, who has spearheaded the campaign to save maternity services in Ysbyty Wrecsam Maelor. She revealed that local AM Lesley Griffiths had told the campaigners privately and publicly before the election that she was "vehemently in support of" their stance. Since the election, she has become the Health Minister and it will be interesting to see whether she has maintained her stance.
Fairtrade campaigner at Ysgol Rhosnesni, community agriculture schemes in Flintshire (inspired by Cuba's successful turn to organic self-sufficiency) and anti-fascist campaigns in Shotton also had an airing. There was also celebrations that the TCC campaign for a living wage had seen 677 low-paid workers at Wrecsam Council lifted out of poverty thanks to pressure from TCC, Unison and Plaid Cymru councillors. TCC then put two local Bishops present on the spot - would they too ensure that all their workers in the diocese were on a living wage? Cue two awkward looking Bishops not used to being ambushed.
I spoke about the various campaigns we as a party have been involved with TCC over the years - from opposing Labour's plan for an incinerator to burn Wrecsam's waste to the Living Wage. I also supported their accountability meetings for election candidates that are a return to the old fashioned town hall meetings and wondered whether other groups could organise similar meetings on a more local level of villages and estates.

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