Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/538/6185

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 June 2008

CWU's link with Labour hotly debated

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) conference met from 8-13 June, under the threat of huge attacks on its industries and its members.

Dave Griffiths

In telecommunications, BT wants to renegotiate pensions by September, jobs are increasingly threatened by 'offshoring'. Pay and an increasingly harsh management style are also growing problems.

But it is in the postal sector that the union faces a huge battle. The entire post office network is under threat, with one in three delivery offices threatened with closure.

The government and Postcomm, the 'independent regulator', opened up the British postal market before other countries. The cherry picking of services and asset-stripping by private companies has led to a race to the bottom and an unsustainable position for the Post Office and Royal Mail.

The union had already agreed to ballot members for industrial action over the company's imposition of pension reforms. This will be expanded to include other aspects of Royal Mail's wrecking plan. The CWU faces a crucial six months to fight back against the ruin of the post office.

There is anger and shock that a Labour government is presiding over these attacks on public services and their workers. In 2007 the union agreed: "...that unless the union achieves the removal of Postcomm in its current form and the protection of the post office network by June 2008 then a ballot of the membership will take place on whether the union should contribute future monies to the Labour Party."

Since that conference, the union was forced into a major strike against company attacks. The government has voted to close 2,600 more sub-post offices, and scores of Crown (city centre) post offices have been closed in a short-term asset-stripping exercise.

Now, at the end of May, the same Postcomm and Royal Mail management submits privatisation of Royal Mail to the Hooper Review of postal services!

Emergency motion

An emergency proposal instructed the union's national executive (NEC): "to launch an immediate unprecedented campaign... to maintain Royal Mail as a 100% publicly owned company. To apply pressure on the government to force them... to protect and maintain the final salary pension scheme... (and) protect the post office counter network."

"If the government fails to agree to the full terms of this motion by March 2009 then the CWU membership will be balloted on whether they believe the union should fund the Labour Party at the next general election."

Moving the motion, London divisional rep Martin Walsh talked of the post office being "under the greatest threat it's ever been." He said the union must "use the link (to Labour) or lose it."

The following day a proposal, resolution 101, from Coventry to "...end funding of the Labour Party and to campaign for a new workers' party" was on the agenda.

But as well as expressing their anger with Labour, a series of speakers, including general secretary Billy Hayes and deputy general secretary Dave Ward, used the first debate to oppose that resolution. They argued that carrying it would undermine the emergency resolution that was preparing the union for battle.

Before Judy Griffiths moved 101, it had already had six speeches against!

The proposal created a heated debate but was overwhelmingly defeated.

Delegates clearly hoped to try to exert any remaining influence with Labour to stop the destruction of the post office, and felt disaffiliation would undermine that tactic.

Billy Hayes spoke again, asking delegates not to be pessimistic given a publicly owned post office was in Labour's manifesto, and he referred to the Hooper review into the effects of 'liberalisation' as "our review".

He pointed to splits in the Scottish Socialist Party and Respect, while other delegates said it could be 40 years before a new workers' party was in government.

Some claimed that disaffiliation would force the CWU into the political wilderness and that Tory leader David Cameron would welcome disaffiliation.

Many delegates hoped against hope they can pressure Labour to stop the ruin of their industry and jobs.

They don't see how remaining silent about New Labour's Tory policies is helping, but at this point they do not see a viable political alternative.

But the pressure is unmistakeable and the 'elephant in the room' was that, if put to a ballot, it is extremely likely that communication workers would vote to end the link with Labour. The NEC themselves spoke of limiting spending on Labour to the "minimum necessary".

Referring to the unacted-on threat to cut funding over Postcomm last year, delegates complained: "It's not a threat if you don't do anything". The terms of the emergency motion to defend the postal service will need to be energetically pursued until March 2009.

The conference also overwhelmingly passed a motion that called on the TUC to organise a national demonstration to oppose spreading NHS privatisation.

At the rules conference, NEC-led rule changes that would diminish democracy in the CWU were consistently rejected.

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


In The Socialist 18 June 2008:

No! to racism: Yes! to decent jobs, homes and public services

No! to racism: Yes! to decent jobs, homes and public services

Unite and fight against racism

Protest at BNP 'hate festival'

Let AmDani stay!

conference


International socialist news and analysis

Lisbon Treaty 'No' vote delivers major shock for political and big business Establishment


Socialist Party campaigns

Shell drivers strike

David Davis - sanity or carving a position?

Greater Manchester - save your post office

London protest over Rajapaksa's dismal human rights record

Stop big business polluting our environment


Education

Stop New Labour's divisive school academy plans


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Polyclinics - Stop this backdoor privatisation

PFI - a very bad deal for the NHS

Reopen the battle on NHS pay


Socialist Party campaigns

End the occupations

Unison conference: Angry delegates attack leaders


Post office closures

Leeds: Stop Beeston post office closures


Socialist Party workplace news

National Shop Stewards Network Conference

CWU's link with Labour hotly debated

Victory against bosses at Keele

Workplace news in brief


 

Home   |   The Socialist 18 June 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

CWU:

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

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

Labour:

triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangleWe must fight all council cuts!

trianglePacked Newham meeting against academies

triangleNo to the Woolwich monster block

Labour Party:

triangleSustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

17/1/18

Women

Socialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

17/1/18

Newham

Packed Newham meeting against academies

17/1/18

Liverpool

Lobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

17/1/18

Barking

Heating scandal on east London estate

17/1/18

Policing

Undercover policing legal challenge

17/1/18

Woolwich

No to the Woolwich monster block

17/1/18

Union

Workplace news in brief

17/1/18

Union

PCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

17/1/18

Hackney

Hackney school cleaners strike

17/1/18

RMT

RMT strikes against driver-only operation continue

17/1/18

Yorkshire

Ferrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages

17/1/18

Cuts

We must fight all council cuts!

17/1/18

Socialist Party

Southern Socialist Party conference

16/1/18

Birmingham

Home care workers to strike

12/1/18

Waltham Forest

Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

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