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From: The Socialist issue 1040, 1 May 2019: Valentine victory: School strike beats council cuts

Search site for keywords: CWU - Workers - Socialist - Labour - EU - Union - BT

Communication workers oppose second EU vote, and back new socialist 'Clause IV' for Labour

Doncaster postal workers' strike, 24.3.17, photo A Tice

Doncaster postal workers' strike, 24.3.17, photo A Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members in CWU

Postal and telecom workers have voted to campaign against attempts to remain in the neoliberal EU at the 2019 conference of the Communication Workers Union (CWU). Delegates also called for the Labour Party to re-commit to public ownership in its constitution.

The successful emergency motion on Brexit was proposed by the union's ruling national executive committee. This marks a welcome shift in the leadership's position. And it could be pivotal in swinging the balance of the simultaneous debate on a 'people's vote' in the Labour Party's national executive committee.

Three years ago, the CWU executive backed a Remain position. The arguments Socialist Party members in the union made then about the need to fight the EU's anti-worker institutions have since become even clearer. The leadership is now reflecting the real interests of members in the Brexit debate.

Just hours after this victory, conference voted unanimously for composite motion 55, to restore Labour's 'Clause IV' commitment to public ownership. The original Clause IV was stripped away, after many years of struggle, by Tony Blair and his privatising cronies.

This reflects a growing mood among CWU members and the wider working class of not accepting the Labour Party status quo. The union leadership must now translate this into action by campaigning for mandatory reselection, kicking out the Blairites, and a democratic collective voice in Labour for the unions.

It must also translate this constitutional aspiration into an industrial one. That means leading a fight for the nationalisation of Royal Mail, BT, and all the delivery and telecoms firms which exploit workers and consumers alike, under democratic workers' control and management.

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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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