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Welsh ministers won’t cross picket lines

All credit to Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales, and Welsh Labour. Welsh Labour Ministers will not be crossing picket lines today. Carwyn Jones confirmed that position today in answer to a question from Left-wing Plaid AM, Leanne Wood. In Wales at least, a Labour Leader has no problem supporting workers striking in defence of their pensions. Ed, please take note.

The full question and answer is as follows:

Leanne Wood: It is timely that we are discussing a living wage when the Westminster Government is doing its best to erode terms and conditions for public sector workers. First Minister, will you join me in condemning the UK coalition Government for making public sector workers pay the price for the years of casino capitalism that caused the financial collapse? I have asked this question a number of times and would be grateful for a straight answer: how will this building and the Government operate on Thursday during the public sector workers’ strike? Are you prepared to make a statement supporting those public sector workers and their right to withdraw their labour in these unjust circumstances?

The First Minister: I cannot talk about this building, as it is not a Government building, but Ministers will not be crossing picket lines. Ministers will be working on Thursday, of course, subject to that condition. We have great concerns about what is being done, particularly to the pension schemes of public sector workers. Jane Hutt, as Minister for Finance, will be meeting a delegation of officials from three of the unions. It is important that a strong message is sent out that, first, this is not a dispute with the Welsh Government. Secondly, it shows that the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats in Government in London are less concerned with public sector workers than they should be and care more about the bankers who caused the crisis—the people who fund them—than the public sector workers who deliver such a good service to so many people day-in, day-out.

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