The start of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) conference on 23 and 24 April saw Socialist Party member Lenny Shail support an emergency motion by the CWU leadership backing Jeremy Corbyn in the general election and to call on him to back renationalisation of Royal Mail and BT. Lenny also called on the CWU to take Jeremy around Royal Mail and BT workplaces to meet workers and build a campaign for these demands.
A motion initiated by another Socialist Party member working in Royal Mail called for a mass demonstration before the general election in support of Corbyn's policies, including in defence of the NHS, but this was defeated.
The Socialist Party is calling for Jeremy, together with the trade union movement and health campaigners, to call a second demonstration (following the hugely successful one on 4 March) during the election campaign, mobilising millions onto the streets against the Tories and in defence of the NHS.
As we go to press CWU conference passed an emergency motion in defence of Royal Mail pensions and other terms and conditions. The motion calls on Royal Mail to "respond positively to the union's 'four pillars of security' agenda" one of which is a proper pension for all. If this fails to happen by August the CWU will consider all means available, including industrial action, to fight for the demands.
It was a brisk morning to say the least, but with flags flying, music playing and tea and sandwiches on the go, the security officers on strike at Senate House, HQ of the University of London (UoL), were in high spirits on 25 April. As picket after picket explained, their demands are "simple and fair": they want their bosses to keep their promises!
They are striking for no zero-hour contracts, proper payslips, and for UoL to honour its promises on pay. Low paid cleaners achieved the London Living Wage in 2011 and the employer promised then to increase the wages of other grades to maintain differentials, but instead wages of security officers have stagnated.
They are now demanding a 25% increase, with £12 an hour for the lowest paid. Pickets were proud to announce that workers brought in to do the jobs of strikers had joined the union!
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