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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 November 2007

Fight Royal Mail victimisation

Included in the "deal" reached by Royal Mail and the CWU Postal Executive is a statement: "All parties will work together in a positive way to resolve outstanding issues within the spirit of the national agreement and to facilitate this any CWU representatives who have had their facility time suspended will have it restored". But there is no mention of suspended or sacked workers.

At Burslem DO, sacked Dave Condliffe has been forced to go to an Industrial Tribunal in an attempt to clear his name after enduring the farce of a so-called "disciplinary procedure" lasting months. On 11 September another 12 Burslem workers were taken from the shopfloor by security guards, accused of harassment, immediately suspended, marched out of the building and ordered not to go anywhere near RM property.

After enduring six weeks under a cloud of suspicion, three have now been reinstated but with no action taken against the person who accused them of harassment! The victimisation of the other nine continues.

Burslem workers are likely to decide on balloting for further strike action on 6 November. CWU Regional Secretary, Lee Barron said, "We will notify Royal Mail once we have had the meeting. If action in Burslem cannot get the workers back to work, we will ballot the Stoke area and if that doesn't work we will ballot 18,500 members throughout the Midlands region."

Fight Newham council victimisation

On 31 October Newham Unison members were on strike in support of their branch chair Michael Gavan. Michael has been suspended by the education authority and faces the sack for trade union activity. He was suspended shortly after the union organised a lobby to oppose the privatisation of council services. He is charged with "not acting in the best interests of the council while carrying out union duties" and meeting workers in refuse and cleansing to fight privatisation, job and pay cuts.

As Michael himself said at a recent rally: "If standing up for your members and fighting privatisation is illegal then I'm guilty."

The hearing on 1 November was adjourned until 19 November.

Unison members at Avenue primary school, like other Unison members, recognised that this attack on Michael is an attack on their union as it seeks to protect public services as well as its members' rights at work.

23 members, all low-paid women - newly joined and long-standing, held a lively and vocal picket at the gates of the school. £37 was collected in half an hour from parents and the NUT and ATL teaching union members collected £170 to show their support for Unison. The school closed at 12 noon.

Louise Cuffaro, NUT rep.

TU history conference

The south west TUC has organised a trade union history conference on 23 November in Exeter. The conference is free and open to all trade unionists. For more details tel: 0117 947 0521 or email southwest@tuc.org.uk

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In The Socialist 8 November 2007:

Sick of the profit system? Come to Socialism 2007


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Build the left in the public-sector trade unions


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