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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 July 2009

Royal Mail dispute

National strike action to halt attacks on workers and our postal services

Postal workers strike, photo by Paul Mattsson

Postal workers strike, photo by Paul Mattsson

THE RECENT strikes by postal workers and the many balloted workplaces around the country are a direct result of the war by Royal Mail on its workforce and the Communications Workers' Union (CWU).

There can be no doubt that what Adam Crozier and the rest of the overpaid bosses of Royal Mail hope to achieve from their war is a compliant workforce and a union which will no longer be capable of defending its members.

The bullying and harassment of workers on a daily basis, coupled with the increasing attacks on the CWU reps by a process of cutting back their facilities, is a serious attack on workers' conditions.

Behind the bosses stands the New Labour government that, smarting over its inability to part-privatise (for now) Royal Mail, is now swearing revenge on the union.

The CWU must quickly move to organise a national one-day stoppage as part of its fightback to prevent Royal Mail's 'modernisation' plans which will lead to job losses, pay cuts, increased workloads and a worse public service.


London

Postal workers strike, photo by Paul Mattsson

Postal workers strike, photo by Paul Mattsson

A LIVELY march by striking London postal workers was followed by a packed CWU rally in Westminster central hall. From the platform an RMT executive member gave solidarity greetings, calling for trade union unity to resist the employers' offensive that wants to make workers pay for the recession. To applause, he pointed to the jobs fightback at Lindsey oil refinery as the way forward.

The biggest cheer of the day went to the CWU rep Martin Walsh who said the union has had enough of attacks on its members from the government and that the London division will ballot its members on disaffiliating from New Labour. An embarrassed Kate Hoey - a CWU sponsored Labour MP who spoke next - said she agreed that postal workers should vote on their continued affiliation to Labour!

CWU members in London will strike on 25, 27 and 28 July. Industrial action will also affect areas of Scotland, eastern England and the South West.


Rhondda

'For a one-day national strike'

"WE'RE READY for a national strike", workers at the Mid Rhondda Delivery Office told The Socialist. "People have had a gut full of being bullied and harassed. We're ready to take on this government, once and for all.

"We don't need a one day strike. We need an all-out strike until the company is ready to talk to the union. One-day strikes don't achieve anything. All you do is lose a day's pay.

"Six jobs have been taken out of this office and the manager here has had a 6,500 bonus.

"We need a national ballot. Then, people can either stand up for their rights or accept what the Royal Mail throws at them."

Socialist Party Wales

'Labour is working for rich people'

STRIKES ON 8 and 17 July were solid in Tower Hamlets, London. A picket at the Docklands delivery office in E14 said: "I'm not happy about doing more for less. Nobody's increasing managers' work. Not one person in the office disagrees with the strike, everyone is out to protect their jobs. We'll keep on fighting. Privatising it would ruin the company, absolutely rip it to bits."

The situation on the ground is very different from the 'failing business' you read about in the media. Another picket described increasing demands on postal workers: "The growth that we're seeing here is phenomenal. I've just had 750 extra calls (addresses to deliver to) open on my walk. I haven't even got a sorting frame for it, I'm sorting the mail on my lap."

Although pickets were pleased that privatisation of Royal Mail had been shelved for now, they were clear about the need to continue fighting: "Privatisation will raise its head again after the next election whoever's in [government]. It's similar to the east coast rail line - they [National Express] cream off the profits then when times get hard they hand it back to the mugs."

A third picket, like many others, was keen to spread the strike and frustrated that their union was still donating money to the Labour Party: "It's not a good idea by the Labour government to cut public services. We're in a recession, if they cut jobs it will worsen the recession. The CWU shouldn't fund the Labour Party because the Labour Party isn't working for labour people, it's working for rich people."

Naomi Byron

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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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 21 July 2009:

Corus... Vestas... Defend every job!


No Job Cuts

Vestas: Support the occupation

Vestas jobs fightback

Action to save steel jobs at Corus


Unison witchhunt

Defend the Four: Protest at the Unison witch-hunt

Unison witch-hunt verdict causes outrage amongst trade unionists


Youth fight for jobs

Youth fight for jobs fortnight of action


Workplace news

National strike action to halt attacks on workers and our postal services

Tube workers' action wins concessions

South Yorkshire First Buses strike over pay

London Met Uni strike

Every little helps Tesco's as they attack workers

Teachers strike against job cuts

Care homes public meeting


Pensions

Union action to fight the attacks on our pensions

Pensions - in brief

Pensions: We say


Anti-racism

BNP get police to arrest socialists

Lincoln fights back against racist BNP

Stop the BNP's 'festival' of hate

Rock Against Racism


Socialist Party campaigns

Keep Deptford Jobcentre open!

Build the Tamil Solidarity campaign

Devon residents against incinerators: Alternative waste schemes needed

Another stepping stone towards health privatisation


Marxist analysis: history

20th anniversary of Soviet miners' strike


Comment

40th anniversary of the moon landing What steps has humanity taken?


 

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Related links:

Royal Mail:

trianglePosties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive

trianglePostal workers' action results in double victory for union

trianglePostal workers force Royal Mail back

triangleRoyal Mail dispute: Interview with a CWU branch secretary

trianglePostal workers' anger over profits before health and safety

Strike:

triangleOppose BT site closures - national strike ballot needed

triangleIran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes

triangleIsrael: Nurses strike and win

triangleHugely significant council workers' strike continues

Rhondda:

triangleGE Aviation workers march to save jobs

triangleRoyal Glam A&E: Victory is within our grasp

triangleNHS: Fight for full funding!

CWU:

triangleBattle with BT management needed to win real pay rise

triangleCoronavirus workplace news in brief

Labour:

triangleLabour payouts: unions must discuss political representation

Postal workers:

triangleCollective action becoming necessary to ensure safety and vital deliveries

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