Socialist Worker

Pay: the fight is on... and this is why

Issue No. 2055

Postal workers in the CWU union at a rally last week  (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Postal workers in the CWU union at a rally last week (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Postal workers have voted by three to one to strike over pay, conditions and to defend a public service.

Their CWU union conference last week exploded in cheers and applause when the result was announced.

Postal workers know they have to fight management's slash and burn polices and the bosses' belief that workers are '25 percent overpaid and 40 percent underworked'.

Martin Walsh, the CWU's London divisional rep, told Socialist Worker, 'Our battle is not just about the pay and conditions of postal workers, important though they are. It is about defending the existence of a unique, publicly owned postal service.

'I'd urge everyone to get involved and to support us. If the management's plans go through then we will see the destruction of our postal service and the closure of 2,500 post offices.

'The government, which is the employer in the final analysis, ought to be telling the bosses to listen to the message from our ballot and to stop trying to cut our pay and wreck services.'

John Woodhouse, branch secretary of Newcastle CWU branch, says, 'We want a pay rise and not a pay cut, that's not much to ask for. And we don't want 40,000 job losses and other strings.

'If we get beaten then it will affect millions of others in the NHS and other public services, because they will face the same or worse treatment.

'The mood is positive and although we hope there can be a settlement, we are well prepared for a strike.'

The CWU executive was meeting this week to consider strike dates. Everyone needs to back the postal workers. Other unions should unite their fights with them.

And the fact they are pitted against a Labour government should increase the debate about why the unions give so much support and money to a party that ruthlessly attacks them.

Martin Walsh and John Woodhouse speak in a personal capacity

For more on public sector workers fighting back against low pay, see our coverage of the » PCS, » Unison and the » NUT

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