Socialist Worker

Jane Loftus: ‘We need a far more determined fight’

by Jane Loftus, CWU vice-president (personal capacity)
Issue No. 2143

Comrades,

The postal industry faces a deep crisis. It is a crisis made by the government and the management of Royal Mail. Our union has to come together and fight the threats in a much more determined and militant way.

Lord Mandelson, backed to the hilt by Gordon Brown, is determined to ram through the privatisation of Royal Mail, despite overwhelming opposition among the public and inside the Labour Party.

Labour ministers are ready to use Tory votes to overturn party policy. Labour is forced to nationalise banks, and it is simultaneously privatising a crucial public service!

Privatisation would mean profit-hungry firms tearing up the service and lead to tens of thousands of job losses, mass closures and a renewed assault against the union at every level.

Privatisation is not negotiable and there is no price that would make it acceptable to us.

We have strong allies in public support and the backing of every trade union. A victory over privatisation could inspire a fightback much more widely among working people over redundancies and closures. Let’s become the focus for all the pent-up anger over what this government is doing by handing billions to the banks but wrecking services and allowing jobs to be destroyed everywhere.

The CWU has run a strong campaign among our members, MPs and in the press. But we now need urgently to step up the campaign and to confront the reality that Labour ministers are our enemies in this battle, not our allies.

That means:

  1. Launching an immediate campaign for industrial action against privatisation and Royal Mail’s failure to secure National agreements with the CWU over cuts, closures, pay, pensions and restructuring.

    We will be told that it is illegal to strike over privatisation because it is political. We should remember that our union has frequently had to defy the anti-union laws in order to defend ourselves.

    But in any case there are many industrial issues that could trigger a strike ballot now. We should focus on delivering a YES vote and strike action prior to privatisation and the separation of POL.

  2. Immediately suspend the cash to Labour and implement E6 conference policy and ballot to cease the funding. Do our members really want to be handing money to Brown and Mandelson just as they sign the death warrant for the public service?

    It has to stop, and it has to stop now. Conference policy must be carried out regarding the relationship the Labour party has with the CWU.

    Our political fund should be put to better use supporting CWU and other campaigns that defend workers’ rights, oppose wars and combat the rise of the BNP. If Labour MPs don’t support us, we shouldn’t support them.

    The CWU should support individuals who agree with union policy and change the political fund to enable this to happen.

  3. Step up the public campaign. We need far more of the demonstrations and protests such as the initiative taken by Northamptonshire CWU to protest at Corby and increase the pressure on the local MP. There is massive public support for our campaign. Let’s show that on the streets.

    The CWU leadership need to fight on both the Political and Industrial fronts.

    Unfortunately this view is not in the majority and we continue to fight with one hand tied behind our backs. We cannot wait for the job losses to kick in before we take strike action to defend ourselves and the Postal industry. It will be too late for too many of us, and too late for the public service.The attacks we face require the national union to unite postal workers to fight against privatisation and job losses. United we can defeat the Labour government and Royal Mail.


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News
Tue 17 Mar 2009, 18:45 GMT
Issue No. 2143
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