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pic: National Assembly of Wales

Tuesday 20th
posted by Luke James in Britain

Plaid leader Leanne Wood accuses Labour of being ashamed of their history as a party of trade unions

PLAID Cymru leader Leanne Wood yesterday accused Labour of being “embarrassed” by its own history as the party of trade unions.

Ms Wood made the controversial claim as she set out her party’s pledge to end the “war against working people” ahead of May’s general election.

Speaking during a Westminster visit she slammed the Tories “shamelessly political” plans to introduce strike ballot thresholds.

But she added: “It is quite clear that Labour are embarrassed about their union roots and links to the trade union movement.

“We should not expect significant improvements to the rights of employees or enhanced pay and conditions should they win the next election.”

Ms Wood said Labour had failed to repeal Tory anti-union laws and even used “employee rights as a means of pandering to the right.”

Her criticisms were brushed aside by Labour MP Katy Clark.

Ms Clark is a member of Labour’s trade union group of MPs and received the backing of seven unions in her recent bid to become Scottish Labour deputy leader.

And she told the Star: “The simple reality is that trade unions are not only at the heart of Labour Party history but they are very much a part of our present and future.

“Labour MPs take up trade union issues day in and day out.

“It is vital for trade unionists that we get a Labour government elected in May and that we kick the Tories out as that will be the only way we can stop the Tories’ attacks on the trade union movement, and start to tackle low pay and exploitation in the workplace and the cost of living crisis.”

Ms Wood insisted though that workers are “increasingly feeling disenfranchised at the workplace, in terms of their living standards and politically too.”

A Royal Commission to consult on improvements in industrial relations and rights will be part of Plaid’s general election manifesto, she announced.

The Plaid leader said: “Competitive economies and high standards of employee rights and participation are not mutually exclusive but often complimentary as we can see from other European states.”

The development comes after Ms Wood pledged in November to identify “damaging” Thatcher-era laws that should be scrapped in a bid to double union membership.