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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 June 2016

Workplace news in brief

Royal Mail fightback

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) missed an opportunity to link a dispute between Royal Mail managers and the privatisation of the company by the 2010 Tory-led government. Around 4,900 managers, members of Unite the Union, voted to go on strike in a dispute over pay and conditions. The managers, having rejected a 1.3% pay offer for the year starting September 2015 in a consultative ballot, then voted by 78% to take strike action and 93% for 'industrial action short of a strike'.

Unite members are also facing continuing threats of compulsory redundancy, with more than 530 redundancies across the organisation already this year. After a period of 'working to rule', a walkout was planned for 24-hours from 31 May to 1 June but this was postponed as the business agreed to further talks.

This is a victory for the managers - as long as the union leadership does not capitulate at this stage. Following the election of a new CWU leadership, this dispute presented an opportunity to raise a class position against cuts to workers conditions, promote the case for renationalisation as well as unite and encourage the whole workforce against the big bosses and capitalist investors.

The sale of the Royal Mail, which saw shares severely under-priced and the taxpayer short-changed was followed by the need for it to cut costs and raise product prices such as stamps for returns to faceless capitalist investors. Workers, including middle and lower management, will continue to bear the brunt of those cuts in their pay, terms and conditions unless a fight back is organised. I encourage all CWU members to attend the NSSN conference where we can discuss such issues with other unions.

Carl Harper, CWU activist

Metsa Wood walkout

About 50 GMB members from Metsa Wood, which produces timber products for B&Q, were on strike on 26 May, with a picket in place at the depot in Ditton Road, Widnes. George Patterson, GMB full time officer, explained to me that the strike was in protest at the company offering a meagre 0.8% pay rise despite making a 390 million profit. One of the workers told me that it used to be a great place to work but that over the last five or six years it has all been totally changed with profits for the shareholders being put way ahead of treating staff properly.

Andy Ford

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 8 June 2016:


EU referendum

No to Tory and EU austerity

Youth must fight for their future

Northern Ireland: Biggest trade union supports EU exit

Letter to the Socialist: EU referendum

The socialist case against the EU: TUSC tour continues


Socialist history

China's 'Cultural Revolution' 1966-67


Socialist Party review

Music review: No to TTIP


Socialist Party news and analysis

Athens bus workers clean up

Exploitation Britain: Unionise and fight for a living wage

Muhammad Ali 1942-2016

Housing: Let's reclaim our right to dream again!

Nationalise the rip-off drug companies

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Link the strikes - come to the NSSN conference

Momentum Youth and Students: Witch hunts won't take movement forward

Tamil Solidarity Day

Student nurses march to oppose bursary cut

Pensioners fight ageist Tory cuts

Dangerous, dirty and damp: the unseen world of temporary accommodation


Socialist Party workplace news

RF Brookes walk out over pay cut

Pennine Foods strike: "Business NOT open as usual - Again!"

Junior doctors' dispute: New offer falls short

PCS campaign against Land Registry privatisation

Workplace news in brief


 

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