“TRADE unions can change lives. We did it at Tower,” National Union of Mineworkers official Wayne Thomas told the Merthyr Rising trade union rally yesterday.
Tower colliery miners refused to accept management assertions that the pit was exhausted and 239 contributed £8,000 from their redundancy pay to buy it in 1995.
Tower produced six million tons of coal over the next 13 years, benefiting 400 miners and many community projects in the Cynon Valley.
“Strange we could find the coal and they couldn’t,” Mr Thomas observed.
The rally also heard from National Assembly of Women president Anita Wright who expressed her anger that 3.7 million children live in poverty in Britain, most in working families.
She compared Prime Minister Theresa May to Margaret Thatcher, declaring: “We’ve had two women prime ministers in this country, but they are no sisters of mine.”
Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign speaker Kevin Horne recalled the day police shepherded picketing miners into a field near Orgreave coke depot.
“We were in T-shirts. They were in full riot gear,” he said, detailing the one-sided conflict in which police battered the miners before arresting them.
“There was no medical cover until solicitors turned up from London. We took our T-shirts off to bind their wounds. There was blood everywhere.”
Yet Home Secretary Amber Rudd has “flatly refused” to hold an inquiry into the Orgreave police riot that took place on June 18 1984.
Public and Commercial Services (PSC) Wales secretary Shavanah Taj laid bare the Tory offensive against public services, including 106,000 Civil Service job cuts.
“The Welsh government is committed to spreading employment across the country, but it has been undermined by the action of the Westminster government.”
She welcomed changes in the Labour leadership, noting that “both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are supporters of PCS and that everyone has a real opportunity to vote for change in the general election next week.”
Morning Star political editor John Haylett brought greetings from editor Ben Chacko who had been billed to speak.
He explained that Mr Chacko was involved in preparations for a special election edition of the paper for mass distribution.
Pointing out that Mr Corbyn was a Morning Star weekly columnist until election as Labour leader, Mr Haylett exhorted the audience: “Back Jeremy Corbyn twice — vote Labour on June 8 and buy the Morning Star every day.”