A group of postal workers from London went to lobby the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth on Monday of this week. Martin Walsh, the postal workers’ CWU union London divisional rep, spoke to Socialist Worker about the growing tensions between the union and New Labour.
He said, “Every trade unionist needs to get behind the CWU in this dispute, and learn the lessons from it.
“Our fight with Royal Mail is both a political and an industrial dispute. We were in Bournemouth because we want the prime minister to intervene in our dispute, and force Royal Mail management to reach an amicable settlement with us.
“The dispute is causing many CWU members to think hard about the relationship between the union and the Labour Party.
“At last year’s CWU conference we voted to ballot our members on our ongoing affiliation to the Labour Party – unless there was significant change to government policy on the postal industry, including a defence of our pensions.
“At our next CWU conference, we are going to have to ask whether the Labour government has met our criteria – did they ensure a just settlement with the union? Did they amend the postal services act that allowed cut-throat competition into the industry?
“If the answer to both those question is no, then we should ask our members whether they want to continue the relationship with the Labour Party.”