The Socialist 6 December 2007
System change not climate change
CWU ballot result
Determined postal workers' struggle not matched by CWU leaders
Postal workers who have been in dispute with Royal Mail and took strike action during the summer have voted to accept the deal which the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) has negotiated.
Jane James, Socialist Party industrial organiser
Those who campaigned and voted for a 'no' vote against what is a rotten deal will be asking why a majority of postal workers who voted in the ballot accepted the deal.
It is always difficult to overturn the recommendation of the union leadership in a ballot.
After all if the leadership is not prepared to oppose the deal, then will they organise a serious campaign to win a better deal if the membership decide to reject it?
So, many of the postal workers who believed it was not a good deal had no confidence that their leadership would have carried through a determined struggle to improve the deal had members rejected it.
On a number of occasions during the dispute when official and unofficial strike action was having an effect - the postal executive called off the action for more talks. But during the talks, Royal Mail did not pause from instigating changes, victimising postal workers and securing an injunction against the union. Union members received very little information about the progress of the negotiations.
There are many changes and attacks on conditions that local managers have begun to implement, as well as a worse pension deal which will go to a ballot.
A number of mail centres are also targeted for closure, meaning more job losses. And a number of workers are still fighting against their victimisation during the strikes.
These attacks could lead to localised action in the near future.
Unfortunately the determination and sacrifice that postal workers demonstrated during the strikes were not matched by their leadership.
While a minority on the CWU postal executive voted against the deal, only one - Dave Warren - spoke out against the deal and called for a 'no' vote.
There is now a need for those CWU members in Royal Mail who see the need to build a fighting democratic union, based on ordinary activists, to discuss how to bring this about.
In this issue
Workplace news and analysis
What we think
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Post Office and CWU