Three union reps are embarking on a 150 mile walk from Cardiff to London to take part in the TUC 20 October protest

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Three trade union reps are taking the first steps this morning towards the TUC’s anti-austerity protest in London next week.

They plan to walk the entire 156 miles from Cardiff, to arrive in the capital in time for the start of the A Future That Works demonstration.

Richard Evans (PCS), Cerith Griffiths (FBU) and Steffan Ap Dafydd (NUT) have spent two months training for the journey.

Departing from the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff, they will be joined for the first leg by Jamie Insole of the NUJ and the Assembly Member, Bethan Jenkins.

She said; “I fully support these men and the cause they are walking for, and will be joining them for part of the walk to show my solidarity.

“In addition, myself and Mick Antoniw AM have raised a Statement of Opinion, calling on our fellow Assembly Members to back these men and join in the fight against the cuts, which are only really now beginning to properly bite, with more promised this week at the Tory party conference.”

After an overnight stop in Newport and supported by a trade union fire-engine, they continue their trek through South West England, Swindon, Reading and Slough, reaching London on Friday (19 October)

Richard Evans, a Cardiff based civil servant, said: “The cuts being made under so called ‘austerity measures’ are vicious and hit the most vulnerable in our society hardest, while those who can afford to pay more get tax breaks.

“October 20th is our opportunity to tell this government how we feel and those of us that care about people more than the bank balances of the rich need to do all we can show the government that they are there to represent us not the richest 1%”.

Cerith Griffiths added; “We now see 1500 fewer firefighters, 130 fewer control staff and some 700 fewer support staff since the ConDem Coalition came into government.

“The Fire Brigades Union and fire chiefs are warning that a further 2500 firefighter posts could be lost along with the closure of some 31 fire stations.

“This puts everyone at risk.

“More people will die in fires, in floods, in road traffic collisions”.

Steffan Ap Dafydd, a Welsh teacher and local historian, said that he was marching to protect education: “One hundred and eighty years ago, only one in five men, and no women, had the vote.

“The rich kept workers down and bent the law to keep trade unions out.

“The descendants of those rich boys do not care about you and me. They still cut tax for themselves and cut pay and benefits for teachers, other working people, the poor, the disabled and pensioners”.

The trio will be updating us on UnionNews with a daily diary of their journey; we will feature an interview with them in the next edition of The Active Voice podcast and we hope to film them at the end of their epic walk during the A Future That Works protest in London.

Please follow us on Twitter @UnionNewsUK for all the updates.

Meanwhile, the AMs Leanne Woods and Mick Antoniw have tabled the following written statement of opinion in the Senedd: ‘This Assembly… congratulates them in their attempt to highlight the urgent threat posed by unnecessary Westminster spending cuts of up to 40% and the damage that this will do, not only to public services in Wales but the very communities in which we live and work; and wishes a safe journey, both to them and the many others who will accept the challenge to march on October 20th’.

Organisers of the 156-mile challenge hope the statement will attract extensive cross-party support leading to a motion later in the week.


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