Minister faces public challenge

For immediate release: Saturday 4 November 2017

Barry today (Saturday), hosted its biggest political rally in a decade as public services union, UNISON, brought hundreds of people to the constituency seat of the Secretary of State for Wales.

King’s Square was awash with colour, placards, banners and flags as families crowded to hear public services are rapidly disappearing as a direct result of UK Conservative government savage spending cuts.

Margaret Thomas, UNISON Cymru Wales regional secretary said,

“We’ve complained that Alun Cairns as Welsh Secretary hasn’t been representing the people of Wales. Today, in his backyard he won’t have been able to ignore the hundreds of people chanting, singing and marching for an end to austerity. Speaker after speaker pleaded for fairer funding for Wales to save libraries and leisure centres and other vital local services and for an immediate end to the 7-year pay cap which has squeezed the family budgets of 390,000 public service workers in Wales by more than 20 per cent.

“This is the message we want Alun Cairns to take to Theresa May as the government prepares its budget.”

UNISON has drawn attention to the fact that it has more members in Alun Cairns’ constituency than the size of his majority. The trade union is planning a series of events continuing the campaign for fair funding for Wales.


Notes for editors

  • Alun Cairns MP has a majority of 2,190 in a constituency with 2,789 UNISON members.
  • Hundreds of public service workers heard the following speakers: Margaret Thomas UNISON regional secretary; Jane Hutt AM; Wales footballing great, Neville Southall; Attila the stockbroker, poet and activist; Paul James, comedian; Patrick Jones, poet; WTUC president Mike Jenkins and Sandra Perkes, local councillor and UNISON member.
  • Music was provided by a Caledonian pipe band.
  • The march was from King’s Square to the Civic Centre, following Ty Newydd Road/Holton Road.
  • On 13 October, The Joint Council for Wales, the body which brings together Welsh council employers and trades unions, has revealed seven years of pay freezes or below-inflation pay awards driven by the UK government have reduced the spending power of their workforce by 21 per cent in real terms.
  • UNISON Cymru Wales invited all Welsh MPs of all parties to meet with a delegation of members at the House of Commons on 17 October. The trade union was pleased to meet with numerous Labour MPs and a Plaid Cymru MP. No Conservative MP, including the Secretary of State for Wales, accepted the invitation to meet.



Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397.