Showing posts from February, 2017

Relief at Tata vote

Column published in Llanelli Herald on 24 February 2017 I felt a huge sense of relief when the news came through on Wednesday afternoon that TATA workers had voted to endorse the deal negotiated by the unions to secure the future of their plants. In the end the majority was 75% of workers. It would have been an economic disaster for our area if they had listened to Plaid Cymru’s call for them to vote it down. The Heavy End at Port Talbot would have closed, hundreds of workers would have lost their jobs and there would have been a big ripple effect on the whole economy. Of course it wasn’t a black and white situation. There was understandable and justifiable anger by many older workers who felt the future they had planned, and worked for, has been taken away from them. The events of the last year have created deep mistrust amongst many workers towards TATA. Even though it is broadly agreed that TATA have been good owners, even now committing to future investment wh

Fighting Plaid cuts in Llanelli schools

Column published in Llanelli Herald on 10 February 2017 Over the last few months I’ve visited many of the schools in the Llanelli constituency. Each of them are struggling with their budgets. Last year cuts of £3.4 million by the Plaid-led council in Carmarthenshire stretched the budgets of Llanelli school to breaking point. Despite the Welsh Government protecting the money sent to County Hall there were job losses in Bigyn, Brynteg, Dafen, Brynsierfel, Dafen, and Ysgol y Felin Primary schools. This year local Heads were told to prepare for further cuts of 5%. I revealed these cuts in this column but Plaid Councillors wrote to the local papers to say I was fibbing. Meanwhile the Director of Education, Gareth Morgans, wrote to Heads to say, “There is a proposal to reduce school budgets. The details of the proposals being considered by the County Council”. Local Heads were told that they’d need to make up to 135 members of staff redundant to meet the £3.2 Million

Tearing out much needed employment for the Llanelli economy

This column appeared in the Llanelli Herald on 3rd February 2016 146 people currently work in the Department for Work and Pensions office in the middle of Llanelli. Some come from far and wide as the result of previous re-locations, but most live in the area. These are not Job Centre roles but so-called ‘back of house’ functions. The team that are affected mostly work on dealing with sickness benefit claims, work capability assessments and crisis loans. The Whitehall department announced last week that they want to ‘modernise their estate’. The Conservative Minister in charge in London wrote to me to tell me that because we now have “record levels of employment across Wales” - apparently -  and 80% of people who claim Jobseekers Allowance now do so online, the benefit offices need less space. But rather than working with Carmarthenshire Council, or even the Welsh Government, to try and find better accommodation locally, the UK Government have announced they want to