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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 October 2019

Massive vote for strike action: postal workers - "we're out to win!"

There was a deafening roar of approval at the special meeting convened by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) when it was announced that postal workers in Royal Mail had voted yes to strike action by a massive 97.1%. The turnout easily surpassed the high threshold imposed on the trade unions by the Cameron Tory government, designed to prevent industrial action. Emerging from the meeting Gary Clark, secretary of the CWU Scotland No 2 branch, spoke to the Socialist.
photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

"It's definitely full steam ahead now. The earliest we can take strike action is 20 November because of the mediation period and legal notice period.

The mood in the conference and up and down the country is we're up for strike action. This is a different ball game to what we've been involved in before. We've got a different CEO to deal with, but the members are definitely up for the fight.

The issues are the breakup of Royal Mail that is proposed, with parts possibly being sold off. We're due a shorter working week, a one-hour reduction this month, but management has backtracked.

Royal Mail bosses are walking away from national agreements. They want to do away with 40,000 jobs, which amount to a third of the workforce.

This is a fight to defend the public service too. If we lose this fight the public service is gone.

CEO Rico Back wants to rip Royal Mail to shreds for the benefit of the hedge funds, big business and capitalism.

This is going to be a key battle for the whole of the trade union movement. Rico Back and Royal Mail have shown they want to not only break up Royal Mail, but intend take on one of the largest and strongest trade unions in Britain. If he breaks the CWU then the rest of the trade union movement will suffer.

So the whole trade union movement must get behind the CWU now.

We'll now go back to the members and make sure we're prepared to strike during the Christmas period. We don't want to strike at Christmas, we want to provide a service, but we have no choice and we will use the ballot we have now got for industrial action."

The Socialist Party stands four-square behind the men and women in the Royal Mail group who are determined to ensure that the agreement they signed up to with the employer in 2017 is kept to. We believe that the best way to properly reward the workforce and to improve the public service is by renationalising Royal Mail under democratic workers' control.

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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.
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In The Socialist 16 October 2019:


What we think

Corbyn must stand firm against establishment and Labour right

Mass united action against the war on Syrian Kurds


Low pay

Minimum wage debate: how can we end the scandal of low pay?


News and reviews

Tories out - general election now

The Cameron Tory legacy

Climate watch


Workplace news

Massive vote for strike action: postal workers - "we're out to win!"

PCS general secretary election: Marion Lloyd - standing for action on members' pay, jobs, pensions and more

Wales: Hundreds march to save the Orb works

RMT: Jared Wood - Fighting cuts, defending jobs, pay and conditions

Hackney SEND transport workers achieve victory

NEU support staff dismiss Tory 'extra funding' hype

Workplace news in brief


Tony Mulhearn

Tony Mulhearn 1939-2019: Courageous fighter for the working class and socialism

Book: The Making of a Liverpool Militant by Tony Mulhearn


Chinese revolution

China after the 1949 revolution: the benefits of the planned economy stifled by bureaucracy


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Be part of the future: join the Socialist Party

Mass union mobilisation needed to counter anti-choice group

Major new book out in November: In Defence of Trotskyism

Trade unionists discuss climate change

Pressure needed to force secret police disclosure


International socialist news and analysis

Uprising in Ecuador forces government climbdown

Catalonia: Mass protests against punitive political jailings


 

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