Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1061/29740

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 October 2019

CWU vote for strike action will boost workers' confidence to fight back

Postal worker, photo Paul Mattsson

Postal worker, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The incredible Communication Workers Union (CWU) ballot result in Royal Mail - a 97% vote for national strike action on a 76% turnout - must be a watershed moment for the whole trade union movement. See 'Postal workers: we're out to win' and 'Vote yes for Royal Mail strike action' at socialistparty.org.uk for more information about why CWU members voted for action.

The ballot result proves beyond doubt that the undemocratic Tory anti-union laws can be surmounted, providing a fighting lead is given and members are mobilised. It will give confidence to other workers that a fightback is possible.

Was it even possible?

Many in the union movement raised doubts about whether it would even be possible to have national industrial action because of the legal restrictions.

There has been a rising number of localised disputes, but it has been far more difficult to win national ballots of bigger numbers of workers, spread over hundreds of workplaces. Now over 110,000 postal workers have now blown a major hole in this idea.

This is the second time in two years that the CWU has won a legal strike ballot, overcoming the new 50% turnout threshold. For workers in essential services the hurdle is even higher, at least 40% of members must vote yes.

Disgracefully, the Tories were able to bring in their 2016 Trade Union Act, of which the new voting thresholds were a major part, without any significant fight by the trade union leaders. It represents a further escalation of Thatcher's anti-union laws.

While 250,000 marched against Tory Ted Heath's Industrial Relations Bill in 1971, not one national demonstration in London was called this time by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the unions.

The TUC organised one midweek rally of a few thousand in Westminster in November 2015, and even then hundreds had to stand outside Central Hall because the TUC hadn't booked enough seats!

Yet just four years earlier, 750,000 workers and their families had marched against Tory cuts, which prepared the way for the November 2011 two-million strong public sector pensions strike.

If a serious fight against the Bill had been linked to the struggle against Tory austerity, hundreds of thousands could have been mobilised. But the right-wing union leaders' role was shown in the way that the TUC, Unison and GMB leaders ended the pensions battle by capitulating to the Tories.

The CWU's campaign to overcome the thresholds was a model that should be a blueprint for the rest of the union movement. It wasn't a passive ballot but a whole process of engaging with members and mobilising them. The union conducted members' meetings in the workplace and even on the gate.

The demands of the union were spelled out clearly. The CWU used social media and other 'modern' methods of communication but they were to supplement, not instead of, engaging with the shop floor. Photos of members' meetings were put on social media to build confidence among members and create momentum.

One of the main reasons why Thatcher introduced postal ballots for industrial action was to try and take workers out of the collective atmosphere of debate and discussion in the workplace when voting, usually by a show of hands.

Instead, it was hoped, they would be more under the influence of the mass Tory media on an individual and isolated basis. But the CWU acted to circumvent this by calling on members to bring their ballot papers to work and fill them in and post them together.

Queuing to vote

At one Royal Mail office, workers took a video where they lined up in a queue to put their ballots in the post box. If the dispute is conducted with the same determination as the balloting process, they have every reason to be confident of winning.

But solidarity from other sections of workers will be important. The bosses will also be attentively watching this key battle.

Striking Royal Mail workers will undoubtedly face an onslaught from the Tories and the media in an attempt to defeat a key workforce in a crucial struggle that could inspire workers to fight more widely.

Workers should be looking to set up support groups, via trade union councils where possible, in preparation for strike action in Royal Mail.

At the same time, strike action by CWU members could be an excellent opportunity for Jeremy Corbyn to push his pledge to take Royal Mail into public ownership - a vital step for protecting the future of the service, and the jobs and conditions of workers, as well as a way of mobilising support for a Corbyn-led Labour victory in a general election.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 23 October 2019:


What we think

General election is the real 'people's vote'

CWU vote for strike will boost confidence to fight back


News

Boot out Boris and his bosses' deal. General election now!

"I need to get to work! I need to feed my kids!"

Rail report into death of Cardiff Socialist Party member

Boot racism out of football - reclaim the game!

Enfield North Labour Party: Defend local democracy


Minimum wage

Minimum wage: What should we be demanding?


Workplace news

Uniting workers and public to fight the cuts: Interview with Jared Wood - candidate for RMT union executive

Marion Lloyd for PCS union general secretary

Asda contracts: Vital that GMB mobilises for industrial action

NEU members strike against sixth-form funding cuts

Bradford: Workers walk out over council cuts

Workplace news in brief


Chinese revolution

China at the crossroads: 70 years since the declaration of the People's Republic of China


International socialist news and analysis

Catalonia: Draconian prison sentences of independence leaders provokes mass protests and strikes

Chile: An outpouring of rage against the capitalist system

Solidarity with the Kurdish people

Massive protests against Lebanon's corrupt elite


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Join the party that dares to fight for socialism

Packed labour movement service a fitting farewell to Tony Mulhearn

Socialism 2019: Join us for a festival of ideas

Burnt-out Barking residents picket builders' sales day

Which way forward for the working people and youth of Nigeria?

Posties speak at Basingstoke Socialist Party public meeting

Socialists attract support at first Newton Abbot meeting


Letters

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 October 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

CWU:

triangle"This is going to be the biggest battle we've seen in Britain for a number of years"

triangleBasingstoke Socialist Party: Defend post workers' jobs and wages

trianglePosties speak at Basingstoke Socialist Party public meeting

triangleMassive vote for strike action: - "We're out to win!"

triangleVote yes to Royal Mail strike action to take on the bullying bosses

Workers:

triangleForbo Flooring Derbyshire strike

triangle1 million cuts plan: Peabody housing workers announce strike ballot

trianglePCS: "Under the right leadership workers are prepared to fight"

triangleIncompetent bosses use tech to bully us

Strike:

triangleDouble-dealing Hackney council bosses face renewed strike action

triangleWest Midlands Trains guards to strike

triangleUCU votes for pay and pension strikes

Union:

trianglePay, jobs, pensions... Vote for a fighting general secretary

triangleNorthern Ireland: Uniting the working class to transcend division

Royal Mail:

triangleRoyal Mail dispute: Workers determined to fight bosses' injustices

Postal workers:

triangleHamilton posties walk out against bullying

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

6/11/19

Election

Tories out! Corbyn in with anti-austerity and socialist policies

6/11/19

Grenfell Tower

Grenfell fire inquiry spin deflects blame from establishment

6/11/19

General election

General election 2019 round-up

6/11/19

Tony Blair

Tony Blair launches manifesto to sabotage a Corbyn government

30/10/19

Black history

Black Liberation... Only possible through socialist struggle

30/10/19

General election

Tories out now! Bin Boris

30/10/19

Migration

39 migrants found dead in Essex lorry container

30/10/19

Argos

Argos Christmas bonus cut

30/10/19

Workers

Mass protests rock the globe

30/10/19

Anti-austerity

Anti-austerity, socialist policies can be a winning formula

24/10/19

EU

The Brexit battles still to come

23/10/19

Minimum wage

Minimum wage: What should we be demanding?

23/10/19

Cardiff

Rail report into death of Cardiff Socialist Party member

23/10/19

General election

Boot out Boris and his bosses' deal. General election now!

23/10/19

General election

General election is the real 'people's vote'

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999