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From: The Socialist issue 1075, 25 February 2020: Austerity kills

Search site for keywords: Royal Mail - Strike - CWU - Workers

All out to win Royal Mail strike reballot

Royal Mail workers in the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) supporting a 'yes' vote in a reballot for strike action, Leicester Meridian, photo Steve Score

Royal Mail workers in the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) supporting a 'yes' vote in a reballot for strike action, Leicester Meridian, photo Steve Score   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members in CWU

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is about to reballot its 110,000 postal members for industrial action. This is after the disgraceful actions of unelected high court judges who ruled a 97% record-breaking Yes vote for industrial action illegal.

The CWU then called for a period of calm for serious negotiations. At the first meeting, management informed the CWU that it was going to push through its changes and smash the 'Four Pillars' national agreement to pieces.

Royal Mail has declared all-out war with the CWU, which is viewed as one of the most combative trade unions in the country. It's clear that management has taken confidence with the election of the Boris Johnson government, and believes that now is the time to take us on.

Up and down the country, Royal Mail is announcing that it will be introducing unagreed changes in scores of units (executive action). At the same time, it is refusing to implement the shorter working week which was due last October.

This is clearly the way that Royal Mail CEO Rico Back is aiming to ignore agreements and smash the CWU, in order to bring in maximum returns for the big private capitalists at the expense of workers and the public service. Management also wishes to bring in electronic monitoring of employees without agreement, and work posties into the ground.

We are clearly dealing with a type of management we have never faced before in Royal Mail. We must now get our members prepared for the fight of our lives. We are facing job losses on an unprecedented scale, with 40,000 job losses likely.

We now must tell our members in clear terms what we are facing, and make sure we receive another massive Yes vote for strike action by holding meetings in every single workplace in the country.

It's also very clear to the membership that we will need serious action as management is forcing change all around the country. This must be met at the very least with a 48-hour stoppage as a first step, which can then be built on.

But we must also take our dispute to the rest of the trade unions and make a call for the whole movement to support us by all the means required - and demand that the Labour Party maintains its policy of renationalisation of Royal Mail, no matter who the next leader is. This is a fight we can't afford to lose.


CWU gate meetings

Dawn rose on Socialist Party members leafleting postal workers at gate meetings across the country on 25 February such as in Leicester (above).

  (Click to enlarge)

Ross Saunders says: "At the sorting office in Cardiff (above) the reception was warm even if the hailstones weren't. Delivery workers gave us the thumbs up as they drove away waving our leaflets. A local rep stopped his bicycle to chat and reported the mood was optimistic about beating the turnout threshold, angry at the violation of the democratic right to strike and determined to deal the company a blow in defence of members' interests."

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Finance appeal

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.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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Article dated 25 February 2020

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