Hannah Blythyn MS
Hannah Blythyn MS

This week is the Trades Union Congress (TUC) / Wales TUC Cymru Heart Unions Week ­– an annual opportunity to spread the message about why trade unions are important, both in the workplace and in the community. I’m proud to be a trade unionist – I’ve spent the best part of my working life advocating for a better deal at work. It’s a real privilege to have continued that work in Welsh Government, whether that’s leading on legislation to put our Welsh way of social partnership working on a more formal footing or introducing the unions and the world of work school project.

From campaigning for change to chairing the first ever meeting of Wales’ Social Partnership Council – I know first-hand that trade unions are good for workers and good for Wales. If you’re not a member of a trade union, you can find out more at www.tuc.org.uk/join-a-union.

Ahead of Heart Unions Week, I spoke at the Unison Wales Labour Link Forum in the capital at the weekend. Here in Wales, we have a unique approach to working with unions, as well as other stakeholders, and the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Act 2023, which I spearheaded as part of my role as Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, shows the Welsh Government’s commitment to working with unions like Unison to achieve the absolute best outcomes for workers, our communities and our nation – and it was good to share with Unison members and activists how the Act is being put into practice, as well as our wider work to promote and empower trade unions.

In the news this week were the findings of a damning report which exposed a culture of sexism and misogyny and wider failings in management and leadership in the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service – the Welsh Government has taken decisive action to the fullest extent of the powers available to it to appoint commissioners to oversee the organisation. Sexism and misogyny are not restricted to just this organisation, of course, so the message is absolutely clear – there is no place for sexism, misogyny or any kind of discrimination in our society and it’s something we in Wales will simply not accept. As the minister with responsibility for Wales’ fire and rescue services, I will be updating Members in the Senedd when we return after recess.

To highlight the Welsh Government’s approach to this issue, I was interviewed by Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Wednesday ­– you can hear the interview on BBC Sounds or read more about the report on my website at www.hannahblythyn.cymru/welsh-government-appoints-commissioners-to-oversee-south-wales-fire-and-rescue-authority-after-damning-report.

Last week I also met Cinderella and Finley, two beautiful greyhounds, at an event organised by the Cut the Chase Coalition to show my support to end to greyhound racing in Wales. This activity can have devastating consequences for the welfare of the dogs used in this ‘sport’ and a phased ban on greyhound racing is needed here in Wales. I am pleased to see that my Welsh Labour colleague Jeremy Miles MS has committed in his manifesto to review dog licensing to help fund greater enforcement capacity and to bring in a phased end to greyhound racing. It’s time this awful practice is stopped in Wales.

This week is half term so the Senedd is now in recess and I’ll be spending some more time back home in Flintshire, so if you would like advice and/or support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on any of the following contact details – 52 High Street, Mold, Flintshire, on 01352 753464 or by email hannah.blythyn@senedd.wales. You can also keep up to date via my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/HannahBlythynForDelyn. Constituents are, of course, welcome to contact my office to arrange an appointment to see me, you don’t need to wait until an advice surgery.

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