This week, the Conservative mask slipped.

Leadership challenger Liz Truss announced on Tuesday morning that she would cut public sector pay outside of London, affecting hundreds of thousands of teachers, nurses and firefighters.

At the same time, analysts predicted that privatised energy bills were about to rise higher than ever, and oil firm BP announced record breaking profits - a red-letter day for wealthy shareholders.

Incomes are cut for those at the bottom and handed to those at the top.

By lunchtime that same day, the policy was scrapped - but it was too late. It was laid bare for all to see, who the Tories are. Who they really represent.

Ignore the elaborate pretence to be the party of hard-working people, and years’ worth of meaningless talk about "levelling-up".

The Conservative party will always be the party of the wealthy few, and their current anti-union assault on national pay bargaining will only compound the cost-of-living crisis.

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We have watched this crisis grow worse all year - from RPI inflation at 4.9 percent last September, to 7.8 percent in January and 11.8 percent last month.

That means a 5 percent public sector pay offer might have kept people just about treading water a year ago, but has meant a real terms pay cut in every month since then.

Another report this week predicts that energy bills could hit £3615 in January, and what makes this nightmare even more unacceptable is that the system allows producers and suppliers of energy to pay their shareholders a dividend whilst consumers suffer.

This Conservative low-pay agenda is dragging people into poverty. We must fight it tooth and nail, because as bleak as things seem, they can get worse - and they will, for as long as the Tories are allowed to run the country.

Around 10,000 people are employed by my local council, Rhondda Cynon Taf. A similar number work for the local Health Board, Cwm Taf Morgannwg. There are also around 2,000 teachers in my local authority.

All of these workers, many of whom worked tirelessly throughout the Covid pandemic, are facing a below inflation pay offer - a real terms pay cut.

Working class people need a pay rise, and they deserve a pay rise, but you don’t always get what you deserve. You get what you organise for.

The Trade Unions are the organised working class, and it is them who are leading this fight.

The RMT are fighting for a pay rise for our railway workers. CWU have seen incredible mandates for strikes from Royal Mail, BT & Openreach workers.

Unite has won over 300 disputes and secured around £60mil extra in wages for 63,000 workers in the last 11 months.

As a Labour MP, I see it as my job to stand shoulder to shoulder with local workers when they oppose pay cuts.

Last month I joined RMT members on their picket line, this week I proudly joined CWU members in BT Openreach as they took industrial action in Aberdare, and I will continue to support workers in Cynon Valley and their unions as they fight to defend their incomes against Conservative pay cuts.

That's why I've launched a petition - which I will present to Parliament in September - with a series of demands for the Autumn Budget: Including fairer funding for Wales, with inflation-proofed increases in pay, pensions and social security; price controls on essential household goods; increased taxation of wealth, increased emergency payments to households funded by a windfall tax; and funding for a programme of mass home insulation.

These are popular, common-sense demands, demands that need Labour in parliament to work with trade unions and community organisations outside of it.

I'll be taking the petition door to door in Cynon Valley this Summer.

For more information on Beth's campaign, click here.

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