Socialist Worker

Solidarity can win the post fight

Support is growing for workers and the strikes are gathering strength

Issue No. 2176

On the picket line in east London  (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/» Guy Smallman )

On the picket line in east London  (Pic: » Guy Smallman)


Postal workers are escalating their battle against Royal Mail’s attacks on their jobs and conditions, and against management bullying, with two national strikes.

The assault on post workers is a sign of things to come. Working people face a concerted attack on their jobs and services – a victory in the post will mean we are all in a better position to fight back.

The postal workers’ struggle is solid and has huge support. Trade unionists, students, and others have set up local post support groups and collected money for the strikers.

Pat, a nurse from Manchester Community Health and Mental Health Unison union branch, delivered a collection from her section to her local picket line.

“Our branch knows the importance of solidarity,” she said. “We were out on strike over the sacking of our union rep Karen Reissmann and against mental health cuts in 2007.

“Post workers supported. So we pledged £500 to them at our union

meeting.”

Frank Lewis, a pensioner from Leicester, told Socialist Worker, “Management are out to defeat the union so they can drive through privatisation and increase profits.

“Working people’s strength lies in our numbers and united action. We need to support one another and realise that this is not just a struggle for post workers, but one for all of us.”

Students are an integral part of the support networks. Those from the University of Kent have joined every post picket line in Canterbury since the national action began.

They helped to collect £125 for the post workers in the centre of Canterbury last Saturday.

Aaron Kiely, the environment and ethics officer at the University of Kent students’ union, told Socialist Worker, “Our local CWU union rep told us the post workers are really pleased to see students getting involved.

“Those of us who are students today will be workers in a few years, so we have an interest in helping to defend jobs and

services.”

The whole movement should follow their example.

Nationally, some trade union leaders have pledged support for the post workers and have visited picket lines. But much more needs to be done.

Union leaders should throw the full weight of the trade union movement behind this dispute.

Some postal workers will have lost up to 19 days’ pay over the course of the dispute – and raising money is key.

Union leaders should send post collection sheets to every union rep in the country and make donations to the hardship fund.

They should make sure that delegations of workers take banners to protests in support of the postal workers – such as the one planned for London on Friday.


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