Postal workers across Britain are standing up to the fascist British National Party (BNP) by refusing to deliver their general election leaflets.
Activists in the CWU union report a stream of calls from workers in delivery offices in areas where the BNP are standing, asking whether they can refuse to handle the racist material.
“The BNP are trying make a breakthrough here – and that threatens us all, black and white,” says Dave Jones, from the union’s Wolverhampton branch.
“Our members in Brierley Hill, near Dudley, are determined not to touch their leaflets and I think they are absolutely right.
“Delivering that stuff in an area where there have been big battles with the far right puts postal workers in danger because some people might think that they are endorsing the BNP.
“I tell people that the union has negotiated an agreement with Royal Mail that says no one can be forced to touch BNP material if they object to it on grounds of their beliefs.”
Dave is proud of his branch’s anti-racist tradition. In the past, postal workers in Wolverhampton have walked out against management discrimination and bullying.
His members rightly worry that by delivering BNP leaflets, the unity of workers in the offices could be threatened.
“We’re a very mixed bunch in Royal Mail and we depend on each other. No one wants to undermine that by delivering racist material,” he says.
“In fact, I think I get more calls about this issue from white workers who are anti-racist than from any other group.”
Amarjite Singh, secretary of the union’s Cardiff branch, agrees – but thinks that the union could toughen its stance still further.
“We’ve got nine BNP members standing for election in Wales,” he told Socialist Worker.
“I don’t see why we should do their job by handing out Nazi leaflets.
“The problem is that managers in some offices put our people under a lot of pressure.
“They often say the agreement only applies to black and Asian workers – which is completely untrue.
“Or they say that you have to tell them in writing your specific reasons for not wanting to deliver for the BNP – which is also untrue.
“Whether people can stand up to them often depends on the strength of the union in office and how good your rep is.
“But I think we should use the strength of the whole union in this battle.
“We should issue advice to all our members not to handle BNP leaflets, and then everyone would know that they have collective backing when refusing to touch their crap.”
For a leaflet explaining how to use the agreement between Royal Mail and the CWU to avoid delivering BNP literature, go to charlieswp.posterous.com