Hundreds of people gathered to demonstrate against the Cost of Living crisis in south Wales.
Around 200 Cynon Valley residents descended on Cynon Linc in Aberdare on Saturday (September 3).
The rally was organised by local MP, Beth Winter, and included speeches from various figures including union leaders Mark Serwotka and Shavanah Taj, as well as Councillor Andrew Morgan.
“This is the start of us building our grassroots movement here in Cynon Valley.”
General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, Mark Serwotka, who is from Aberdare, revealed that 30 Trades Union leaders will be attending an unprecedented meeting next week to discuss co-ordinating industrial action in the months ahead.
Wales' TUC General Secretary, Shavanah Taj, called for the nationalisation of public services and a £15 an hour minimum wage “not tomorrow, now!”
Discussing the challenges faced by local authorities, Councillor Morgan explained: “Forecast overspends are at £21million this year and £36million next year, on the back of 12 years of austerity.
“Once you’ve closed a library, once you’ve shut off a streetlight, once you’ve cut services, you can’t go back and cut them again, they’re not there.”
Other speakers used the opportunity to bring light to the growing role of the voluntary sector in supporting people throughout the cost-of-living crisis.
Rachel Rowlands, CEO of Age Connects Morgannwg, spoke about the difficulty many older people have in accessing support they are entitled to and called for a review of the adequacy of the state pension, saying “it really isn’t enough”.
Local MP, Beth Winter, described the event as “the start of us building our grassroots movement here in Cynon Valley” whilst calling for the five demands on her Cost of Living petition, including inflation proofed rises in pay, benefits and pensions, price controls on essential goods wealth taxes and fair funding for Wales.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “Countries around the world are grappling with rising prices but we recognise that inflation is causing significant challenges for families, which is why we are phasing in £37 billion worth of help for households throughout the year.
“That includes direct payments of at least £1,200 for eight million of the most vulnerable households alongside tax cuts, and we have also provided an extra £82 million for the Scottish Government to help vulnerable families at their discretion.
“We are making necessary preparations to ensure a new government will have options to deliver additional support as quickly as possible.”