Why we’re going to the NSSN conference: Coventry communications workers

Lenny Shail

Seven delegates will be heading down to the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) conference from the two CWU branches in Coventry.

Workers in Royal Mail, the post office, BT and other companies in the communications industry are facing unprecedented battles: against privatisation, bullying, sell-offs, sackings, union busting and performance management.

At a Coventry CWU branch meeting of around 50 members there was unanimous anger at the union’s telecommunications executive’s recommendation of accepting BT’s below-inflation pay offer and refusal to immediately take action against performance management.

At car park meetings at the local postal depots, postal workers are demanding industrial action now to defeat privatisation of Royal Mail.

Local NSSN supporters in these workplaces and branches have been key to organising such meetings, putting forward a correct programme and strategy and linking the need for action with the need for a 24-hour general strike against austerity.

The continuing strikes in the Crown post offices has shown that action can force the employer to back down and that the public supports them.

Workers in O2 were balloted for strike action to stop outsourcing to Capita, while workers in Virgin Media, Sky, Vodaphone and others continue to defy the union-busting tactics of management.

The NSSN, particularly its conference on the 29 June, is key to building support for these day-to-day battles.

The 7th annual conference of the NSSN will take place on 29 June, 11am – 5pm in the Camden Centre, Judd Street, London WC1H 9JE

The NSSN was initiated by the RMT transport union in 2006. Seven national unions – RMT, PCS, CWU, NUM, POA, NUJ, and BFAWU – are either affiliated to the NSSN or officially support it as well as many union branches, shop stewards’ committees and trades councils.

The conference will include main sessions on resisting the cuts and fighting the bedroom tax but also workshops on defending the NHS, organising in the workplace, housing, organising the unorganised, fighting blacklisting, Turkey, etc.
It’s open to everyone in the trade unions and community campaigners.

Speakers include union general secretaries: Mark Serwotka, PCS, Billy Hayes, CWU and Steve Gillan, POA and Tommy Sheridan, Scottish Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation chair

For more information contact: [email protected] or send your fee of £6 per person to: PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE. www.shopstewards.net