Hundreds attend right to strike rallies in Cardiff and Swansea

Hundreds of trade unionists gathered for major rallies to protect the right to strike in Cardiff and Swansea.

The events took place on Wednesday February 1 as thousands of public sector workers including teachers took part in industrial action over pay and conditions in Wales and across the UK.

UNISON Cymru/Wales regional secretary Dominic MacAskill (pictured above) spoke to crowds gathered outside the UK government building at Central Square in Cardiff and said: “Trade union rights must become a talking point in all our communities just as much as pay and cuts — because it is only through collective union action that we can defend ourselves.

“This week the Tories’ bill has passed its third reading in parliament. It can now only be beaten on the streets.

“Every Tory politician, in every corner of the country, can be made to fear for their political future if they don’t back down.

“But, pressuring Tory politicians is not enough, successive Labour governments failed to repeal the majority of anti-trade union legislation when they were in office and any incoming government must know a strong and united labour movement is expecting immediate and total repeal of all anti trade union legislation.

“We demand the restoration of democracy in the workplace.

“We demand the right to withdraw our labour to defend our pay, jobs and communities.

“We demand real power be put back in the hands of the people.”

UNISON Cymru/Wales NEC Vice President Libby Nolan (pictured above) addressed those gathered in Castle Square in Swansea and said: “Rishi Sunak’s response to the strength of the workers action is to rush through additional anti trade union legislation highlighting the governments response, which is to ignore and attack.

“The UK government is the most belligerent, appallingly incompetent and out of touch.

“There’s now more food banks than McDonald’s and there are better rates of pay in McDonald’s than in the health service delivering care.

“It’s time they stepped down and call a general election.

“These rallies are the coming together of trade unions as one voice in solidarity to show this Government we are not taking anymore of their attacks.”

The rallies in Cardiff and Swansea also came as UNISON Cymru/Wales is re-balloting ambulance workers over pay and conditions.

Ambulance workers have told the public services union morale is at an all time low with crews, on occasion, outside emergency departments looking after patients for more than 12 hours.

The re-ballot will close on Thursday February 16.