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Key trade unions in the public sector have united to fight the Labour government before a packed audience.

Railworkers' union leader Bob Crow, civil service union activist Jackie McWilliams and Welsh firefighters' representative John Purser were guest speakers at the Forward Wales rally in Wrexham's Centenary Club on Thursday, October 21. The evening was chaired by Wrexham Assembly Member John Marek.

More than 100 people attended the "Red October" event, which was sponsored by Forward Wales and the RMT railworkers' union. The rally saw the hand of solidarity extended between the various unions - John Purser handed over a cheque for 200 to the PCS strike fund on behalf of the FBU.

Dave Bithell, of Wrexham's RMT branch and also a Forward Wales councillor, who organised the event, said: "Labour was launched a century ago as the party of the workers. Since then it's changed out of all recognition. Now it's the party of the millionaires not the millions - giving peerages to big party donors while sacking thousands of public servants.

"Ex-Labour ministers are making big money as advisers to private companies, just like the Tories used to do. So who speaks up for ordinary working-class people?"

Jackie McWilliams, of the PCS civil service union, explained the need for resistance to Labour's plan to axe 100,000 jobs among the workers who deliver pensions and other benefits to the most needy. Her union is planning to strike in protest on November 5.
John Purser, North Wales regional vice-chairman of the FBU, told a similar tale of how the Labour government was hell bent on confrontation with his union. He explained the background to the recent firefighters' strike and how the FBU had resisted government attempts to spark more conflict.

The main speaker Bob Crow, who was ironically delayed by a train connection, launched a blistering attack on the Labour Party as having betrayed working people and of imposing more restrictions on workers' rights.

He made clear his support for Forward Wales as a radical alternative to Labour in Wales, along with the Scottish Socialist Party in Scotland, and won a standing ovation from the crowd for his impassioned call for public ownership of the railways.


October 2004


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