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Young trade unionists fight back
"You've got to stick together"
Debbie at Church Hill mail sorting office spoke to the socialist during the last Royal Mail strike about being a young member of the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
"I've been in the job for three years. When I was in training we had a CWU speaker come in and tell us the benefits and how it works so I signed up straight away. Most of us did. When I went for my stage three I had a union rep who helped me immensely.
"Some of the things Royal Mail tries to get you to do are totally out of order. I've had to drive vehicles that are not roadworthy and I shouldn't have had to do that. But I was pressured to do the job to deliver the bags. But with 'health and safety' I shouldn't have had to do that.
"The problem is when things like targets come in. Targets rather than people are prioritised. If we start an hour later then everyone will get the post an hour later.
"The idea that email etc is reducing the need for post is rubbish as far as I can see. Some of the trolleys we're sending out are up to 150kg, and that's for about 500-700 doors. You might get people not posting a letter but they're buying online and you're getting loads of packets and parcels.
"I've been out every day but this is my first strike. There's a lot more strikes going on now like the prison officers. And a few years ago there was the firefighters' strike. They wanted thirty grand and I totally think that they're worth it.
"For me there was no question about it – you have to strike. It would be great if all the other unions came out. Brown and them lot don't see how it is on the ground. They don't live in the real world. If they did they'd know how it is, what you're expected to do and what you shouldn't be expected to do.
"Workers have a much better idea about how things should be run because they're there doing it. They know the job.
"We've all got to stick together in a unit. If you're by yourself you haven't got a voice but if you're a unit you can change things. Not everyone feels the same – some people come in on the strike days. But every strike it's all the same people who strike.
"As a unit we should be sticking together. At the end of the day if we win, all the workers will benefit so we should stick together."
In The Socialist 17 October 2007:
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
National Shop Stewards Network
Campaign for a New Workers Party
Trade Union Freedom Bill
Socialist Party women
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis