Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/598/8254
Vital battle to save Mail service
Play video: a striking postal worker speaks to The Socialist. Click to play
Postal workers must win
As the national strike to defend the postal service and its workforce begins on 22 October, two Communication Workers Union (CWU) members spoke to The Socialist about the importance of the dispute for all workers.
"I have worked for Royal Mail for almost 30 years, I have been a rep for 20 years and have seen many industrial conflicts in my role as a local distribution rep.
I have seen management regimes come and go. Some try to marginalise the union, some try to reach a negotiated settlement with us. But this is the worst management regime I have ever encountered.
In our last dispute in 2007, the recommendation to cease industrial action was a big mistake.
My CWU branch, North West Central Amal, recommended rejection to the nationally recommended deal. Our view was that we could have the best agreement in the world but these managers can't be trusted to honour it. Our branch view has been vindicated.
Now a 76% 'yes' vote for industrial action has stunned Royal Mail and the media. The Labour government has been exposed as egging on Royal Mail to crush the CWU. The revelation on BBC Newsnight about the leaked secret strategy document has sent shock waves throughout the workplace.
The membership are up for this battle."
A Manchester postal worker
"As a working man all I ever wanted was to provide a decent living for my family. I have worked for Royal Mail for over five years in an office in Lincolnshire. Nothing much seems to happen there, except now we are fighting for our very existence as workers.
The changes we have endured are from a Labour-backed Royal Mail management. Through all this carnage the national leaders of our own union still have blind faith in a Labour Party who are more right wing than "dear old Maggie" ever was.
We know from our own struggles of the past, decisive, positive action is the key in any industrial action.
The fundamentals of this strike could and will have repercussions for every worker in the UK. The bosses will seize every opportunity to casualise work, creating vast fortunes for the few, and misery for the many.
The message now is still the same as it was a hundred years ago. Unity is strength. We need a workers' party for the workers. We should cut all trade union funding to the neo-liberal parties. We don't want much, all we want is the world."
A Lincolnshire postal worker
The Socialist calls for:
- A series of strikes leading up to Christmas and beyond if necessary.
- CWU to demand support from the whole trade union movement if Royal Mail try to break the strike with scabs.
- No more "modernisation" deals - end the attacks once and for all.
- Defend all jobs.
- No to increased workloads.
- Defend the union, defend the reps.
- Bring back 'in house' all previously privatised work.
- For a united fight to defend public services across all public-sector trade unions.
In The Socialist 20 October 2009:
War and occupation
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reviews
Marxist analysis: history