by Alan Davies, FUW Managing Director
AS we start 2019 my message is a simple one: Diolch, Thank you! Firstly thank you to all the staff who have risen to many new challenges throughout 2018. Our county staff have engaged
throughout Wales in briefing politicians on our concerns for the future and have held excellent events to brief members on the Welsh Government’s Consultation paper “Brexit and our Land”.
They have risen to the challenge of helping, where possible,
in the difficult conditions created by extreme weather and have pulled many a string at a local level to help members in need. They’ve briefed local government representatives really well and
it was an absolute delight recently to hear a spokesman from the Welsh Local Government Association express real concern about the potential negative impact of future agriculture policy, it was so good it could have been written by us!
Our policy staff have been pulled in several new directions as we struggle to keep up with the increasing governmental committees and workgroups that are – inevitably – dealing with the challenges of Brexit. It would be fake news to say that all these meetings are really valuable – many are not – but we are all stuck between a rock and hard place as we need to be engaged with others even when we are not sure where we are all going.
And there is a practical impact of all of these extra
demands: firstly the meetings demand extra travel, and travel means time and time is our scarcest resource. The majority of meetings are in south Wales a long way from Aberystwyth and repeated trips do take a physical toll on staff. So I must thank them for “hanging on in there”.
I also want to thank our members: thank you for responding in your thousands to the Welsh Government’s consultation: “Brexit and our Land”. Without doubt, this is the biggest issue we face right now and one that will live with us for a very long time. We have to get
it right. It was therefore absolutely correct that so many people responded to the consultation with a clear message to the government in Wales.
What will come of it only time will tell, but my understanding at the moment is that the responses are being analysed (over 12,000) and a further consultation will be issued,
probably in late spring.
We have made it clear to the Welsh Government that we want to be fully engaged in
working with them to develop the next set of consultations and I truly hope that they will respond well to this request. Even if it means more meetings
and more travel, we need to be there.
Finally, I also want to thank some unsung heroes, the ones
that don’t get seen around the county offices or even get to leave the office in Aberystwyth. This paper doesn’t get put together by accident and the team that makes it happen really do a first-class job. Our finance, admin and IT teams all keep things working so that those at the coal-face can really
deliver for members.
In my view, a strong union is one that works together
and I really want to thank everyone internally for realising that a team effort does deliver the results we need and to thank members for their positive responses when