THE Communication Workers Union (CWU), with 280,000 members in the post office and telecoms, is set to debate its relationship with Labour at its conference in June. Already one of the union's biggest branches, covering Edinburgh and Lothian, has affiliated to the Scottish Socialist Party.
'The sky has not fallen in our heads,' says Derek Durkin the secretary of the Scotland No 2 branch. 'That's despite the fact that our general secretary, Billy Hayes, has argued strongly that we must stick 100 percent with Labour at all costs. But we have not even had a letter from him over the affiliation. We are proposing a rule change to the rules revision conference so that our union's policy would be similar to the RMT's,' says Derek. 'Other branches and regions, such as London, are looking at supporting it or putting in motions along the same lines.
If the left can make a big impact on the 10 June elections it will push the door open wider. It will also, of course, be very good for working people. The Spanish election result augurs well. People turned on the party that took them to war in Iraq. What we do here has international repercussions. Look at the election in the US. There's no genuine choice if you oppose Bush over Iraq. The Democrat candidate has said we will continue with the occupation. A lot of eyes are going to be on us here to see if we can offer a way out of that kind of politics.'