Activities outside Parliament

Dic Penderyn Commemorative Service

Tribute by Professor Hywel Francis at St Mary's Church, Aberafan

12th August, 2000


"Arglwydd, Dyma gamwedd !" "Arglwydd, Dyma gamwedd !" Dyna eiriau anfarwol olaf Dic Penderyn cyn iddo farw.

Camwedd i Dic, ie. Ond camwedd mawr i'r dosbarth gweithiol hefyd wrth ddwylo'r cyfaladdwyr a'r llywodraeth.


"Lord, Here is an injustice!" "Lord, Here is an injustice!" These were the final, immortal words of Dic Penderyn before his death.

Injustice to Dic, yes. But also a great injustice to the emerging Welsh working class at the hands of a brutal capitalist class and its Government with the defeat of the Merthyr Rising when at least 24 workers were killed.

But, immediately after that defeat, grew the very first trade union movement across South Wales, and the very first newspaper of the Welsh working class, Y Gweithiwr.

And so in remembering Dic, we remember too all those women, men and children who sacrificed much to establish the early trade union, labour and socialist movement.

As we now stand before his graveside, we remind ourselves of the principles they and following generations fought and died for:

  • above all the principle of UNITY - "mewn undeb mae nerth"
  • the RIGHT to belong to a trade union
  • and of course the democratic right to VOTE.

As a historian, as a trade unionist, as a member of the Labour Party and as a Socialist, I recognise that much has been achieved by our Labour Government - democratic devolution, the minimum wage, the right to belong to a trade union and the shorter working week.

BUT much more needs to be done if we are to build on the legacy of social justice left to us by Dic Penderyn and his comrades.

For a start, we must

  • defend our steel industry
  • radically improve our Health Service
  • and fight Racism wherever it appears.

It is important that we remember the sacrifices of our pioneers so that we continue to live by their principles of social justice.

Therefore on your behalf I would like to thank St Mary's Church , our Trades Council and members of our Local Authority, especially Councillor Malcolm Jones, in helping to keep the memory of Dic Penderyn and his comrades alive.

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