Socialist Worker

CWU conference: union set for crucial fight

by Alan Walsh, branch secretary Watford CWU
Issue No. 2104

The CWU union conference, which is to take place in Liverpool next week, is likely to be a watershed.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, has said that the next six months will determine the future of Royal Mail and its thousands of workers. He is right.

We are facing attacks on our pensions, terms and conditions, and the prospect of scores of office and mail centre closures.

There is also the threat of privatisation, with the mail industry regulator arguing that the government should sell off part of Royal Mail.

Our union is preparing for one of the most vital campaigns in its history.

At conference we will be debating motions that call for a national strike on all the key issues. It will be up to us all to ensure that any ballot returns a big yes vote for action.

To do that we must set out clearly what we expect to gain by fighting – defending our pension scheme, keeping all our mail centres and seeing off privatisation.


The general view in my branch is that a series of one-day strikes will not be enough to win. That means we have to be prepared to take action that lasts several days and creates a huge backlog of mail, just as we did at the height of last year’s fight.

Another major question is over what our relationship to the Labour Party should be?

Our union has given millions to Labour, but what have we got for it? The leadership will doubtless tell us that there is no alternative to Labour and that we mustn’t let the Tories back into power.

They will say that the union’s link with Labour has stopped privatisation so far.

But look how the government whips instructed Labour MPs not to vote against post office closures, and think about how the government treated us during the national strike.

I believe that the union should only support those MPs, inside Labour or not, that have a record of supporting our policies – not those that attack us.

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