"a consistent record of speaking out on trade union issues, refused to cross the Assembly picket line along with all other Plaid AMs (and MPs in Westminster-shame on you Labour MPs) and was keen to show her party support for the striking workers. She was told that no political speakers would be allowed, only for Labour politicians to be allowed to speak later. This was in contrast to Cardiff and Newport, where Plaid AMs did speak (Labour didn't bother to turn up in Newport as their MPs were too busy crossing the Westminster picket line-on Miliband's orders)".I sahare with Ian his frustration at the Union Leaders whose loyalty to the Labour Party seems to override their loyalty to their members .
The Ban on Bethan and the inclusion of a Labour speaker could be said to be worse because "None of the Unions taking industrial action yesterday were affiliated to the Labour Part"
In February this year I took part in a demonstration organised by Unison against the draconian attack on the workforce of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council by the Labour Council .here.
The event was attended by members of numerous Parties and organisation,but in the ticket only rally in the Municipal afterwards, the only member of a political party that was allowed to speak to us or it was the then Labour's Candidate for the Pontypridd seat Mick Antoniw.W ho managed to address us on a protest on the attack on the work force of Labour controlled R.C.T. without once mentioning them. A remarkable feat and it was a generous audience who allowed him to do this.
In other words the Unions used the event to attack a Labour council for its appalling treatment of their workforce to promote the Labour candidate in what was then the forthcoming May Assembly Election.
Why the Unions behave like this.
Well we must admit that the long term ties with Labour Party do exist , and many members still see the mantra of Labour Good-Tories Bad. despite years of evidence that Labour in power has done little for the rights of Union members and (dare I say I use the words) "The Working Class". All the evidence shows that even if Labour had remained in power after the 2010 election , then they would have implemented similar changes to the Pension schemes of public sector workers and we would have seen a similar strike against a Labour Government and yet the Unions, would have behaved exactly the same way to other Parties that supported the striking workers and last May Union Office,s and their members contributions would have been used to back a part that betrays its own supporters,
But the main reason is that the majority of Trade Union leaders (except in the past some Communists ) have always see this a career that will see them moving up in the echelons of the Labour Party with tier eyes eventually on a safe leader seat in the Commons or for some a comfortable retirement in the House of Lords.
I suppose some Plaid members would like to the see the transfer of some Union support via the backing of Plaid MP,AM and Candidates, together with major contributions to that party
But that would not change the problem because the Unions should not use their money to back any candidate who after all are there to represent their constituents.
Individual politicians should back the Unions because they believe in their cause not because they believe in their money and political parties should do so with policies being prepared to lose the endorsement of Unions when they fail to do so.
All the evidence is that the Links with the Labour Part benefits only that Party and the silence of much of the Trade Union Movement in the 13 years of New Labour whose polices (and indeed contempt) for workers rights were not to dissimilar to the Tories shows this. New Labour did virtually nothing to indo the Anti Union Laws of Margaret Thatcher and any legislation that backed the rights of the workers came fro rullings feonm the European Union.
The millions of pounds the Unions use to back the Labour Party its long failed attempt at influencing its policies should be used To increase it membership , Train shop stewards and other elected officials in negotiation skills and employment law and provide legal services to its members.
Sadly I can't see anything changing we will still see ourselves marching behind banners to a rallying point to rallies where a young firebrand Labour politician (Neil Kinnock 11?) will tell us that only by voting in a Labour government will we get our "New Jerusalem" and who in a few years time a s a Labour Minister will be denouncing "Outmoded Union Practice" but we live in hope.