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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 October 2007

Unity with the postal workers

Defend public services

No privatisation

For a one-day public sector strike

"They need to be exposed. This government doesn't care about the workers, they are only interested in money and power." These were the words of a striking Royal Mail worker outside Lincoln sorting office on 6 October.

Marc Glasscoe, Branch secretary, Lincoln City Unison (Personal capacity)

Bitterness felt by the pickets was clearly visible. While the government talks about economic prosperity and cutting unemployment, postal workers are facing 40,000 job cuts, attacks on their terms and conditions and the attempted destruction of their union.

Needless to say, if Gordon Brown had gone ahead with calling an early election he would have had a tough time in getting many votes from members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

Brown was welcomed with open arms though by the right-wing TUC leaders at their conference last month. For workers on the ground the picture is very different.

Over the last few years the government has overseen attacks on the civil service, cuts and closures in the NHS and a brutal assault on workers' pensions.

There have been major clashes with the rail workers and firefighters, while teachers, nurses, council workers and others are facing the prospect of a pay cut in real terms. The list is almost endless, with workers in the public sector facing a constant barrage of attacks on their pay and conditions.

For more than ten years New Labour has carried out a programme of cuts and privatisation in the public sector which would make most Tories jealous.

Brown set out his stall when he copied his predecessor, Tony Blair, by inviting Margaret Thatcher, butcher of the unions, to visit Downing Street. Just like her, Brown is determined to smash the collective power of workers for the benefit of his friends in big business.

It is absolutely critical that the CWU is successful in its action. The government's plans for Royal Mail are the blueprint for all public services. The postal workers have taken a stand against the attacks on their pay and conditions.

It is now essential that workers in other sectors support them and follow their lead. Public and Commercial Service (PCS) union workers have already taken some strike action and are balloting for more.

Local government workers in Unison are currently being balloted on whether to take strike action in November over a pathetically low pay offer. Many are understandably nervous about this, but now is not the time to show weakness.

With the postal workers taking a solid stand and others such as the prison officers also taking action recently, we have an opportunity which we cannot afford to miss.

The Brown bounce has become the Brown wobble, as he backed down from calling a general election. The government is showing signs of uncertainty.

Now is the time for decisive action across the public sector. Only by standing firm against all the attacks will we be able to maintain rights and conditions won by collective action in the past.

Throughout the public sector we must join the postal workers in showing that we will not take the attacks lying down.

If the government and employers want a fight then we are ready to give it to them!

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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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 11 October 2007:

Unity with the postal workers

Gloucestershire shows determination

Marching in support of the Burslem 12

Anger at Leighton, Crozier and Brown

Picket line round-up

Determination to continue the battle


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Private hands off our NHS!


What we think

Brown's expedient election climb-down


War and terrorism

Anti-war movement upholds right to protest

Burmese students join London march


Socialism 2007

Socialism 2007: Debates to sharpen your socialism


Socialist Party news and analysis

Windscale 1957

Super-rich super-donators

Any spare cash?

Beat back the profiteers

Cuts kill - no reductions in the fire service!


Socialist Party feature

1917 October Revolution: the working class took power


International socialist news and analysis

Darfur bloodshed fuelled by land and oil grab

Iraq occupation: Brown's token gesture


Workplace news and analysis

Civil servants march against cuts and privatisation

Bolton care workers fight on

National Shop Stewards Network holds meetings around the country


 

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Related links:

Postal workers:

trianglePostal workers' action results in double victory for union

trianglePostal workers force Royal Mail back

trianglePostal workers' anger over profits before health and safety

triangleCollective action becoming necessary to ensure safety and vital deliveries

trianglePostal workers walk out over health, safety and junk mail

Postal dispute:

triangleCorona crisis brings new issues into the postal dispute

Defend public services:

triangleFight the cuts: Demand no-cuts council budgets

triangle2011 riots: An outpouring of anger at the system

Privatisation:

triangleNHS supply chain worker: privatisation has cut equipment quantity and quality

triangleUnder the microscope: socialist coronavirus news in brief

CWU:

trianglePosties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive

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