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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 January 2008

Giving the real facts on Burslem strike

In Stoke the Socialist Party campaigned in support of postal workers at Burslem in North Staffordshire. Burslem postal workers took strike action to get 12 union reps reinstated after being victimised by Royal Mail management. Between 100 and 200 copies of The Socialist were sold every week during the campaign, showing the support that existed for both the Burslem workers and the Socialist Party.

The Socialist Party's area organiser in North Staffordshire, Andy Bentley, speaks about the campaign:

"Holding stalls and petitioning have been an excellent way to explain what was really going on at Burslem and gives people an opportunity to show their support. When people had the real facts explained to them then the majority supported the strike.

It was mainly ordinary working-class people who signed the petition to reinstate the 12 Burslem workers. This included two young bricklayers who were not union members but would now consider joining up and a Hanley firefighter who remembered the support we had given when they were on strike in 2002.

A young woman, who works at Marks and Spencer, not only signed but, after learning how Burslem workers were fighting back, asked how she could join a union because of 'the shit I get at work'. So we sent her a form to join the USDAW shopworkers' union which Mick, a postal worker from Burslem, got for us.

A nurse told us of 'the stress and intimidation which NHS workers suffer' and returned ten minutes later with four family members to sign the petition.

A First bus driver, after signing the petition, said: 'I'm signing this because you were the only ones who supported us when we were on strike. Good luck to the Burslem posties, we need to stand together more.'

Other postal workers from all over Staffordshire, and from as far as Kent and London, also signed the petition. All were angry about last year's deal with Royal Mail and how managers are already trying to impose changes. All the local postal workers said they would vote for wider strike action in support of Burslem.

6,000 people signing the petition allowed us to get coverage in a local newspaper.

Everyone who signed got a leaflet explaining the facts and were encouraged to pass them onto friends, neighbours and workmates. One woman took away a petition and got it filled in where she works.

Many people who signed the petition also made donations to the strike fund. These were not people with money to burn but ordinary working-class people who wanted to support postal workers at Burslem.

A woman in her 60s told us how she cared for her mentally impaired son. She obviously didn't have much money but she handed over 5 to support the strike.

All these examples show that where we explained things there was overwhelming support for the strike action."

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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In The Socialist 30 January 2008:

End this market madness

No more school closures!


Education

Teachers' union calls strike ballot on pay

Anti-war protests save teachers

Labour councillors anger parents and tenants


Socialist Party news and analysis

New Labour attacking our vital benefits

Incapacity benefit cuts hit the sick

Hain resigns but stink of sleaze remains


International socialist news and analysis

Jail break from Gaza

Suharto: "One of the 20th century's biggest killers and greatest thieves"

US elections: The Barak Obama mirage


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS in crisis


Debt and Housing Feature

Debt and housing slowdown threaten Britain's time bomb economy


Socialist Students

Student elections: Not just a 'beauty contest'!

College students seek socialist ideas

Reality of London students' debt trap

More foo than fight as rockers agree to cross picket line


Marxist analysis: history

How Hitler came to power


Global Warming

Global warming, climate change and human activities - Part 2


Socialist Party workplace news

Burslem postal workers march back to work

Giving the real facts on Burslem strike

National Shop Stewards Network meetings

Police march for pay

PCS suspends strikes


 

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Related links:

Strike:

triangleLondon bus drivers begin strike ballot over remote sign-on dispute

triangleTate workers on indefinite strike hold march and rally

triangleStrike wave marks new stage in revival of Iranian workers' movement

triangleMass protests in Israel demand Netanyahu's resignation

Socialist Party:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Covid - A young workers' charter

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The Marikana massacre in South Africa

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Marxism and Philosophy

Postal workers:

trianglePostal workers' action results in double victory for union

trianglePostal workers force Royal Mail back

Stoke:

triangleTo push change we need to be organised - why we joined the Socialist Party

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