The Socialist

The Socialist 21 April 2021

Build a socialist alternative

The Socialist issue 1130

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CWU BT ballot - time for action now!

BT office, photo Albert Bridge/CC

BT office, photo Albert Bridge/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members in CWU

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has announced the intention to hold a ballot for industrial action, the aim being to use a massive 'yes' vote as leverage to defend jobs and worksites across all BT Groups.

Well-attended virtual meetings have seen the CWU negotiating team and members of the telecoms and financial services section explain to members the issues involved and why the union needs a huge yes vote.

The problem for the union is that, increasingly, members want to know when the ballot will take place. They say quite rightly that they've heard the rationale to support the union across all media platforms, they now wish to know when that will be.

For their part, the telecoms and financial services section quite rightly wants to take time getting the membership list as accurate as possible to reduce the excuses for a BT legal challenge under the anti-union laws. The problem is they've taken so long doing this that members in WhatsApp groups are reporting that managers are raising their heads and, along with spreading misinformation, are sending individual messages to young engineers warning that to vote for a strike will breach contract and they can be sacked. Others are reporting that the drawn-out process of the CWU has led to managers putting pressure on members affected by site closures to accept voluntary release in advance of any ballot.

In short, CWU procrastination is allowing BT management the chance to dominate the narrative. On social media the telecoms and financial services section say they have imaginative alternatives that they would like to propose in negotiations. A small but growing section of members are responding with a definite silence to this as it hardly inspires confidence given the issues at stake.

That said, the overwhelming mood at the moment is to support the CWU and vote yes for strike action. Instinctively, members understand that without the union, management would have free rein across all workplaces and BT groups. It is clear that the new BT senior management and board are in no mood to offer concessions. BT management appears to simply want to smash the CWU.

To build on the existing momentum that has been built across all BT groups by the union, it is absolutely essential that the CWU telecoms and financial services section announces a timetable for an industrial action ballot. Any further delay risks a growing sense of disillusionment setting in.

Announce a timetable! Vote 'yes' for industrial action! No job losses, no cuts in work locations!

Scotland No2 CWU branch secretary and Socialist Party Scotland member Gary Clark has been unanimously nominated by his branch as a candidate for the CWU national executive and postal executive in upcoming elections.

Gary says: "I will be standing as a clear socialist and on a fighting programme on behalf of the membership, I will only take the average wage of a postal worker and will put the rest back into the movement."

In this issue

What we think

Build a Socialist alternative

Capitalism discriminates against us - Disabled people fighting for our rights


Football: no trust in billionaire owners - kick them out and reclaim the game


Left candidate, Pedro Castillo - surprise of Peruvian elections

USA: cop killings and the anti-racist movement

Superpowers' tensions continue to ratchet up


Don't trust the Labour right's empty promises

Fight to stop cuts

Keep Liverpool council's One Stop Shops open

Liverpool hustings - only TUSC has a strategy to take on the Tories

Essex: Why I'm standing for TUSC

Carlisle campaign day success

Socialist Party northern region meeting

With public campaigning back in full swing - now is the time to raise fighting fund


Socialist Party members - part of a left challenge for Unison's leadership

Fight back against British Gas bosses' 'fire and rehire' offensive

Retail workers desperately need a fighting and democratic union

CWU BT ballot - time for action now!

Thurrock bin workers solid in strike against pay cuts

Bus workers protest Go-Ahead's 'fire and rehire'

Ballots to defend reps on Woolwich Ferry

PCS leadership ballot underway


Long Covid: Fight for jobs, benefits and services

Climate change - Johnson spouts 'greenwash 2.0'

Covid and precarious workers - union organisation vital

News in brief


Housing activists storm rental firm's offices

Protests continue against proposed anti-protest laws


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21 April 2021