Around 30 supporters of the People Before Profit Charter held a lively picket outside British Gas’s Cardiff headquarters last Saturday to demand a windfall tax on energy company super profits.
A wide range of individuals and organisations supported the protest. Leanne Wood and Nerys Evans, Plaid Cymru members of the Welsh Assembly, attended, as did veteran left wing Labour councillor Ray Davies.
Several members of Cardiff trades council attended, along with representatives from the Socialist Workers Party, Cardiff Young Greens, the Socialist Party and Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society.
Speaking to Socialist Worker, Leanne Wood described how some estimates suggest up to 25,000 people could die from cold this winter as pensioners and poorer people switch off their heating to save money.
She said, “As long as these companies are looking to make profits, people are going to die. The only way to prevent that is to take these companies back into public ownership. If it was good enough for the banks, it’s good enough for British Gas too.”
During her speech to the crowd, Leanne Wood told how British Gas had sent her a letter urging her not to attend the protest. The representative from the Welsh Language Society had also received a similar letter.
Adam Johannes was one of the organisers of the protest. He said, “We’ve received coverage for this protest in the local newspapers and regional television news.
“The protest was the top news story on Cardiff’s Red Dragon Radio all day and was only beaten on Real Radio by the US presidential debate.
“We must have got British Gas spooked if it’s willing to resort to writing letters asking people not to attend today. Imagine what we’ll be able to manage if we keep building support for the charter and its aims.”
At the end of the protest, organisers and supporters agreed to move forward by setting up a public launch rally for the charter in Cardiff.
Supporters of the People Before Profit Charter were planning protests at Tesco stores around the country over the next few days as the supermarket giant announced its massive profits this week.
Recent signatories to the charter include Jill Evans MEP, Bethan Jenkins AM, Leanne Wood AM, national secretary of CND Cymru Jill Gough, Portsmouth City Unison union branch and the Unison London fire and emergency planning authority branch.
For more on the charter go to » peoplebeforeprofit.wordpress.com