Wednesday, 24 March 2010

All it takes is a picket fence to hold up a not-so-rosy Government of Wales

An assembly debate is due to go ahead in the Senedd building later - in the absence of both government parties and has left this photograph as a lasting image of Welsh Assembly Government, and sadly casts a shadow over Welsh politics and devolved government in the UK.


First Minister Carwyn Jones said Labour and Plaid members "would be very concerned" about crossing picket lines of striking PCS union members.

The decision not to attend has been criticised as "silly posturing".

The Tories called it "absurd" and will debate a motion with the Lib Dems that the assembly government's programme is not delivering for Wales.

All assembly government business was moved to Tuesday's plenary session.

Civil and public servants across Wales plan to walk out for a third day of strike action on Wednesday in an ongoing dispute over cuts to redundancy terms.

Labour and Plaid refused to cross the picket line:

The strike, called by the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), follows a two day strike earlier in March which led to a plenary meeting being postponed. It will again involve jobcentre staff, tax workers, courts staff, driving examiners and Welsh Assembly Government staff among others.

First Minister Mr Jones said:
The whole Labour group and indeed the Plaid Cymru group... would be very concerned about crossing a picket line.

Speaking as far as the Labour party is concerned, its something that is ingrained in party thinking, that you don't cross a picket line.

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson said Plaid's AMs supported the right of the PCS union to withdraw labour during this dispute and would not be crossing their picket lines.

He said the Plaid group would write to Gordon Brown's UK government urging an immediate return to negotiations with the union.

'One Wales' debate

In the assembly government's absence Conservative and Liberal Democrats will debate a wide-ranging motion that the Labour-Plaid administration's 'One Wales' agreement "is not delivering for the people of Wales."

Welsh Conservative Leader Nick Bourne criticised the first minister's stance, accusing him of "silly posturing", and said for his group it would be "business as usual".

He's pushed himself into a ridiculous corner... it's absurd. It looks like he's afraid of coming in as first minister...

We weren't elected to start skulking around the Bay carrying out business from cafes. I think it's farcical but I think they're making themselves look silly and if they want to do that it's up to them.
Labour and Plaid members aren't expected to attend the Weds March 24th plenary session.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams called for all Labour and Plaid members who refuse to cross a picket line to disclose whether they have asked the fees office to deduct sums from their pay as a result.
It is easy for Labour and Plaid Cymru AMs to cancel assembly business but people will rightly expect that as a matter of principle, if they refuse to cross the picket line to work, they should forgo part of their salary in proportion to the amount of time they spent not working, just like everyone else who was on strike.

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