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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 June 2011

CWU conference - unanimous call for 24-hour general strike

At the Communications Workers Union (CWU) conference at the end of May the scale of the attacks on postal and telecoms workers was put alongside the wider government attacks. Delegates called unanimously for a 24-hour general strike and on the CWU to participate in local anti-cuts bodies.

The postal conference, in three emergency motions, attempted 'to draw a line in the sand' to warn bosses and government over Royal Mail (RM) privatisation, pensions cuts and job losses.

Workers in three London Mail centres have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action. This dispute could begin soon and quickly become a national dispute as London will need the support of the rest of the CWU and other mail centres.

But confidence has fallen following the loss of the final salary pension scheme two years ago and the wave of closures and job losses following the Business Modernisation Agreement. It is vital that CWU members join together to challenge this attack.

Privatisation is back on the agenda and bosses are on the attack. They are seeking to 'embed' the union in the company before a private firm takes over. Emergency motions to fight back were carried overwhelmingly or unanimously.

In the general conference delegates gave a rousing response to a speech from Lenny Shail of Coventry about how few Labour MPs had backed John McDonnell's trade union rights bill or opposed pension indexation changes from RPI to CPI.

But the issue of how the union strengthens its political representation remained unaddressed, other than a few unenthusiastic hopes that Labour may change. Therefore the dominant feeling was a recognition that the union will have to rely on its own industrial strength.

Dave Griffiths

Angry CWU telecoms members meet

CWU telecoms conference reflected the anger of members in the industry. Motions calling for changes to the attendance agreements that have been used to invoke the use of compulsory overtime were carried. Motions calling for pension increases to be linked to RPI and for changes to the 'parking at home' agreements, which are being used to force members to work extra hours, were also carried.

The misnamed Left Activists Network-led executive showed its real colours in opposing a motion calling for the pay settlement for next year to attempt to rectify the losses incurred by members in the recent three-year pay deal. This gave a glimpse of how divorced from the membership they have become.

Conference overwhelmingly supported a motion calling for a campaign of opposition, including industrial action, on the issue of performance management which is being used to 'manage' people out of the business. The executive opposed the motion once again demonstrating their failure to grasp what is happening in the workplaces.

Members were enthused by this victory and left the conference determined to ensure that the telecoms executive leads a national campaign against bullying.

New members who attended the conference for the first time were enthused by the democratic debates at the broad left (BL) meetings and new members were recruited to the BL.

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In The Socialist 8 June 2011:


Socialist Party editorial

Economic crisis in 'them and us' Britain


Anti-cuts action

Cuts in jobs and services: We are fighting back!

Birmingham: city of a thousand cuts

Human rights service staff defend jobs


Socialist Party workplace news

CWU conference - unanimous call for 24-hour general strike

Strike action against pensions attack at Sheffield university

Mood for action among Unison members in Waltham Forest

Saltend dispute: lessons for future struggles


Socialist Party feature

Fighting the anti-strike legislation


Socialist Party women

'Slutwalk' protests

Sylvia Pankhurst: Everything is possible


International socialist news and analysis

'Butcher of Bosnia' faces trial

Tamil Solidarity: important resolution agreed at the European Parliament


Young people fighting back

Protests grow as young people say: 'We want a future!'


Socialist Party news and analysis

Southern Cross - Social care on the brink

Vulnerable patients abused at privately run Bristol hospital

End the 'insane' pursuit of oil profit

Fight Welsh universities' fees hike

NHS: Lansley must resign!

News in brief


 

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