Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/498/3019
Postal action round-up
PUBLIC SUPPORT for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) action remains strong and in Bideford on 2 August only four out of 80 crossed the lines and scabbed. In Ilfracombe only two went in. And in Barnstaple only five out of 138 workers went in with no slippage in support.
Socialist Party members are helping to distribute CWU leaflets and have been approached by CWU reps to start organising a rally with other unions - NUT, UNISON, FBU - and are looking to contacts with the PCS and RMT. The theme will be 'Public Service not Private Profit'. It is hoped to expand this to other areas.
In the 'English Riveria', Torquay, a very effective leadership has led to a solid 100% turnout of CWU members. There are reports of unoffical 'work to contracted hours' and rows over use of workers' own cars, which has saved this bullying management millions of pounds over the years.
This '100%' was reflected in Newton Abbot. Teignmouth remains at 95% out, with reports coming in of agency workers being used. This apparently is illegal and a waste of time - one agency worker finished their round on a non-strike day at 7.30pm!
FOR THE third time in a month postal workers at Lincoln sorting office were on the CWU picket line on Saturday 28 July. When I visited the picket line on 29 June I was told that workers were in for the long haul, and this certainly appears to be the case.
The mood among the pickets was even more positive than it had been previously. They were particularly pleased to see Socialist Party members prepared to turn out at 6.30am to show solidarity with striking workers.
There was great bitterness that this dispute is the result of the actions of a Labour government. A local union leader told me: "I recently handed in my Labour Party membership because of this. I can't believe the Labour Party would treat us like this. I won't be supporting them again, they've seen the last of me."
Socialist Party stall
Following the picket we held our usual Socialist Party stall on Lincoln High Street and were joined by CWU members, who were keen to be involved in our campaign to raise support for the postal workers by handing out their leaflets.
Lincoln Socialist Party have been petitioning on the issue since the dispute began. We have been steadily gathering signatures and have received much public support but this weekend saw a real upturn in that support. It was our best stall in Lincoln since April!
The energy and enthusiasm from the picket line was transferred to the stall with countless signatures gathered, 35 papers sold and many donations received. With the mood this strong among workers and the public, the government will be in for a rough ride as teachers, nurses and the rest of the public sector begin to move into action against them.
THE STRIKE at Halifax's Royal Mail delivery depot held firm again on Saturday 28 July.
Workers explained their frustration not only at the reasons for the strike - which have now grown to include a dispute over pensions on top of pay, conditions and a deterioration of the service - but also the inadequacies of the union's striking methods. They found union members crossing picket lines on Thursday and Friday as different parts of the postal service were out at different times. There was no doubt in most of the strikers' minds that the union had to step up the strike action not reduce, change and confuse it.
Walthamstow, north-east London
SOCIALIST PARTY members took five pickets from Church Hill delivery office to Walthamstow Central rail/tube station on Thursday 2 August to give out leaflets and to raise cash for the strikers. One person put a fiver in the bucket and we ran out of leaflets quite quickly.
The strikers know that to win this dispute they will need public support. One said that the CWU had better not give any of the CWU funds to the Labour Party this year.
It is vital that we give full support to these workers and build public support for what could be the start of really important strike in defence of public services.
The pickets were very appreciative of our presence and thanked us for our support.
In The Socialist 9 August 2007:
Committee for a Workers' International
Socialist Party events
Environment and socialism
Tales from the council chambers