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A busy May Day bank holiday weekend in south west Wales
Socialist Party members and supporters in south west Wales are exhausted but enthusiastic after the Bank Holiday weekend!
Alec Thraves, Swansea Socialist Party
On the Thursday evening before the royal wedding, we participated in a successful Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) election public meeting in Swansea where Ronnie Job, lead TUSC Welsh Assembly candidate for South Wales West addressed supporters from across the region.
Ronnie said that the Assembly was only delaying the cuts until the election was out of the way and Assembly members have been leaning on union leaders and labour councillors not to rock the boat.
He pointed out that the Assembly government should set a 'needs budget' and refuse to carry out the Con-Dem cuts which amount to £1.8 billion between now and 2015.
It could also campaign to get back the £300 million a year that Wales is robbed of under the unfair Barnett Formula for allocating government funding.
The public meeting enthusiastically supported opposing all cuts and discussed how TUSC could take forward building unity and paving the way for a new workers' party.
On the Friday it was an early departure to the Socialist Party's 'royal wedding escape party' at Pembrey country park, which attracted over 40 members and supporters.
Getting there for 10am to put up our red flags meant we didn't have the chance to see even a page boy let alone the star attraction and their hangers on.
We celebrated a day off work with burgers and bangers, football (still aching), music and a few cans! The kids had a great time and were presented with Socialist Party commemorative mugs, red flag included, and sweets so they can remember their 'escape party' day out in sunny Pembrey.
As a bonus, we collected £200 (£120 after deduction of expenses) for our fighting fund. After an exhausting day out it was back to prepare for our May Day rallies the following day in both Llanelli and Swansea, where Socialist Party members play a prominent role.
The Swansea march and rally on Saturday had around 300 demonstrating against the Con-Dem cuts with all the main unions represented. Socialist Party members Katrine Williams (PCS Wales chair), Les Woodward (GMB Remploy convener) and Ronnie Job (Trades Council secretary and TUSC candidate) received a good response at the rally.
Katrine received big applause for her call for the unions who marched together on 26 March to now strike together on 30 June.
Les, when commenting on the disgraceful trade union 'memorandum of understanding' in Wales which gives concessions to local government employers, responded by saying the only memorandum of understanding his members wanted was that if the employer attacks us we should stand up and fight back!
Ronnie summed up the rally with an inspiring speech calling on all trade unionists to pressurise their leaders to take coordinated strike action as the only way to stop the cuts.
This call was met with rapturous applause from the audience but the expression on the faces of some of the trade union leaders present just highlights that this will have to be fought for vigorously.
Meanwhile, in Llanelli, 60 trade unionists and political activists attended the 'Llanelli against the cuts' May Day rally, organised by Llanelli Trades Council.
Despite the attempts of New Labour and Plaid Cymru to try to use the event as a Welsh Assembly election platform, the rally in the town centre heard local trade unionists from PCS, Unison, Unite, NUJ and NUT calling on the Welsh Assembly government and local councils to oppose all cuts.
Socialist Party members Mark Evans, branch secretary of Carmarthenshire Unison, and Dave Warren, vice chair of the PCS branch in the DVLA, stressed the demand for a 'needs budget' to be set in Wales and also pointed to the £123 billion of uncollected taxes of the super rich which could pay off the national debt.
After a brief break on Saturday afternoon it was back to preparing for the TUSC campaigning on Sunday and the final run up to Thursday's Welsh Assembly elections.
A great few days which lifted the profile of the Socialist Party again in south west Wales, attracted a number of potential members, raised fighting fund and saw dozens of copies of the Socialist sold.
Not a bad Bank 'Holiday' break!