Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/16556

Posted on 23 April 2013 at 16:55 GMT

CWU continues support for a 24-hour general strike

CWU conference delegates

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) general conference on 21 and 22 April was held against the backdrop of the constant threat of wholesale postal privatisation and unprecedented attacks, union busting and sackings of CWU members across Royal Mail, BT and the communications industry.

It ended with a rousing debate which resulted in an overwhelming vote for the CWU to continue to support the call for a 24-hour general strike and for the NEC to do all in its power to prepare CWU members for the action.

This was moved by Socialist Party members from Coventry branch and seconded by Scotland no2 postal branch.

Delegates defeated the NEC who confusingly opposed the motion, and found it hard to explain why.

Political representation

The conference kicked off with the crucial debate on political representation. The motion, moved by Socialist Party supporters from Coventry telecoms branch, sought to get the union to "enter into discussions with the wider trade union movement and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition to examine and discuss the building and development of effective political representation for workers and CWU members".

It was supported by an array of postal and telecoms branches from across the regions. The motion produced a lengthy and crucial debate on the political strategy of the union.

Support for the motion brought in newer forces behind the idea of opening up the discussion, including a number of Labour Party members. It was the few same tried and failed old arguments that were put in opposition.

It is no surprise that many had self interest in the debate as prospective or current Labour MPs or councillors.

While the motion was lost, Lenny Shail from Coventry highlighted the processes that brought the Labour Party into creation.

Then how it transformed into a fully-fledged capitalist party and the role the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) now plays, despite modest development so far in the process of developing a new mass workers' party.

Lenny ended the debate by raising the contradiction that faced a number of the delegates in the hall who are Labour councillors voting through savage cuts.

He asked those who opposed the motion to consider that in the event of a Labour government implementing austerity policies, they would need to decide very soon which side they and the CWU were on - the working class or the bosses.

The effects of austerity and constant attacks on workers' rights were reflected in many motions passed on housing, benefit cuts, the NHS, the bedroom tax and trade union rights.

EU and Scotland

There were also lengthy and important debates on the European Union (EU) and the Scottish independence referendum.

Unfortunately Socialist Party members and other lefts were unable to defeat the NEC-backed motion that pledged support to the EU (which we explain is a club of the capitalist bosses) and for a 'yes' vote in the event of a referendum, with it just passing very narrowly.

A motion from the NEC that asked conference to allow them to consult with 'stakeholders' and come to a decision on the union's position in relation to the Scottish referendum was disappointingly supported by a number of Scottish branches who made it clear they supported a 'no' vote - against independence. It was passed narrowly.

Scotland no2 branch opposed the motion, putting forward a genuine class position on the national question.

They attacked the role and position of Labour and the SNP and put forward their branch's position of support for a 'yes' vote - not on a nationalist basis but on the basis of pushing forward the fight for a socialist Scotland as part of a socialist confederation with England, Wales and Ireland.

Building a fighting union

The struggle for a fighting left leadership within the CWU still remains. But it is also clear that there is a new emerging layer of younger members who hold no illusions in Labour and what this system can provide for working people.

Alongside more experienced people on the left, they are slowly chipping away and building ever more support to make the CWU a more militant fighting union.

In finishing the debate on the general strike resolution, Lenny Shail told conference that there was no better way to finish the conference than by sending a clear message in favour of a general strike, to the TUC general council on 24 April, that the National Shop Stewards Network is lobbying.

It's time to put the words of last year's TUC congress motion 5 into action. CWU members are ready and up for it - to strike a momentous blow to this government, austerity and the capitalist system itself.


The sectional CWU conferences

In the CWU's two industrial conferences, the mood for action following the general strike motion followed through with the leadership of both the postal and telecoms executives conceding to the pressure of delegates for action.

At the Royal Mail letters conference (full postal conferences are every two years) postal workers voted unanimously for a full ballot of Royal Mail workers on a boycott of private mail companies' final-mile mail.

This is part of the union's moves to protect the universal service and prevent privatisation of Royal Mail.

The ballot will run from 22 May to 18 June, with the result being announced on 19 June.

There was a triumphant mood amongst delegates afterwards with a determined attitude to 'up the ante' against privatisation.

Many delegates expressed their distrust about how far the leadership would be prepared to go. They made it clear they were ready to take up the fight officially or unofficially.

In the telecoms and financial services conference, the main debate focused on 'performance management' within BT.

Socialist Party members and other lefts demanded an immediate programme of action. The executive wanted to 'give BT one last chance' before starting any campaign of action.

The executive submitted an emergency motion that was eventually carried by a small majority after a card vote.

This knocked out the Coventry branch's motion calling for an immediate programme of industrial action.

Because of the hesitation of the leadership, Socialist Party members and other lefts have taken the lead in combating performance management.

Socialist Party members Judy Griffiths and Clive Walder gave rip-roaring speeches in the debate, tearing into BT and their bullying tactics.

They demanded that the union leadership stop giving last chances and start an immediate programme of industrial action.

Later, Socialist Party member Ryan Rochester from Coventry defeated the executive over a motion demanding immediate action by the union to investigate and begin to highlight suicide among BT workers. This trend is a tragic consequence of increased bullying and harassment.

The recent programme of strike action by staff in the country's network of 373 Crown Post Offices over closures, franchising, jobs and pay has received wide public support.

Many postal and telecommunications workers are watching and waiting in eagerness to start fighting back with strikes, boycotts and walkouts to defeat privatisation and fight for better pay and conditions.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

CWU:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangleSet for national strike action

triangleCWU strike ballot to win 'Four Pillars'

Strike:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

triangleWorkplace news in brief

trianglePoverty, repression and fightback on the docks

General strike:

triangleSupporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

triangleSolidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

Union:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

Socialist:

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

Telecoms:

triangleTories may have broken election laws... again

Royal Mail:

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2