Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/810/18581
CWU conference - time to build Broad Left
CWU conference delegates
A motion calling for the next Labour government to renationalise Royal Mail was passed at the recent CWU annual conference. But although delegates stressed the need to work for a Labour victory at next year's elections they were also angry at Labour's current performance.
A motion calling for the immediate abolition of the bedroom tax was passed but only Socialist Party member Clive Walder condemned Labour councils for evicting people in arrears with the tax. He called on the union to use its influence with the Labour leadership to get Labour councils to stop implementing it now.
Motions calling for a membership ballot on Labour Party affiliation or reducing the money the union gives to Labour were manoeuvred off the agenda.
The two major issues in the telecomms occupational conference were performance management and BT's proposals to introduce a new pay and grading structure for recruits in customer service and field engineeering.
On performance management the Executive was defeated in a card vote on a motion that called for an industrial action ballot by 1 July if there isn't a serious improvement of members' experience of BT's performance management regime.
Skullduggery the like of which has not been seen at conference for ages surfaced in the debate on pay and grading. Conference overturned a ruling by the Standing Orders Committee that every proposition on this subject, all of which were critical or called for industrial action, if the Executive's feeble motion which did no more than note that negotiations were ongoing was passed.
On the morning of the debate the Chair then made a ruling reinstating the instruction that these motions would fall. Because it only takes a simple majority to change Standing Orders but a two thirds majority to overturn the Chair's ruling the ruling was reinstated.
If the Executive go to those lengths to get their own way members are right to be worried about their future.
The misnamed Left Activist Network, who all the members of the Executive are either members or supporters of, organised this debate in great detail and even held an emergency invitation only fringe meeting. No agreement has been signed or recommended yet.
These actions show that the Executive are contemplating serious reductions in pay and a lengthening of the working week. A small number of branches have begun to move into opposition to the Executive which makes building the Broad Left urgent.
In The Socialist 7 May 2014:
Socialist Party election campaigning
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns