11 Oct NUM backs Mark Drakeford for Welsh Labour Leader
Today the South Wales Area NUM put its weight behind Mark Drakeford’s campaign to become the leader of the Labour Party in Wales.
Announcing the South Wales NUM’s support for Mark Drakeford as Welsh Labour Leader, Wayne Thomas, Secretary of the South Wales’ NUM said, “The coal industry may have gone, but the legacy of Thatcher’s devastation of the South Wales coalfield is still there. As a Union we now fight for formers miners and their communities . We continue to represent the interests of thousands of former miners who have occupational diseases, for widows, for pension justice, for an inquiry into Orgreave and we continue to work with miners welfare halls and the Court Royal facility for retired miners and their wives. We continue to press for regeneration of our valley communities. These are clearly the issues and values that are also dear to Mark Drakeford .”
Mark Drakeford said, “It’s fantastic to have the support of a union that was so central to the history of the Labour Party …and especially the Welsh Labour Party.
“During the miners’ strike of 1984 I went as an official observer from my union , NAPO, ( The National Association of Probation Officers) to report back on picketing at collieries in south Wales. We would leave at 4-30 in the morning to visit various pitheads as witnesses to events…and the sight of seeing hundreds of police deployed by Thatcher’s government in that desperate dispute is seared into my memory.
“These were formative experiences in my political development and so having the NUM’s backing is therefore particularly moving to me.”
In support of Mark’s nomination Mick Antoniw, AM for Pontypridd and former solicitor to the NUM in Wales, said, “Mark Drakeford has been a staunch and loyal supporter of the Welsh Miners from the time of the strike to the present day.
Wales needs a radical and principled leader to deliver change. Mark is that leader. He holds the values and socialist principles which are at the heart of this Union and the Welsh mining communities.”