Socialist Worker

CWU conference unanimously votes to support London fightback

by Ken Olende in Bournemouth
Issue No. 2253

CWU postal conference has unanimously voted for postal workers nationally to actively support CWU members in London. London has just voted to strike against closures and redundancies.

The emergency motion, passed in a closed session on Wednesday, demands that no one “should handle any of the work from London by un-agreed diversions”.

It also states that, “There will be an industrial action ballot of the whole postal membership if Royal Mail make any postal worker compulsory redundant.”

Martin Walsh, London Divisional Rep, moved the motion. He said that people have to understand the scale of the cuts that Royal Mail is trying to achieve in London. There is no way it can make the closures it wants without compulsory redundancies. When East London closes and its work moves 80 percent of its workers will not be required. The plan for South London would include a reduction from 600 workers to 192.

Even the Mount Pleasant office, which is not due to close, will be reduced to 57 percent of its current size.

And the attack is not just on London.

Mark Palfrey, London Divisional Rep, seconded the motion. He said the next stage is to ballot delivery workers, but they need support from postal workers around the country. Royal Mail says it will start the move on 6 June, so there is little time left to build support around the country.

He finished by saying, “Wherever you work if they crush us they’ll crush you.”

Twenty people spoke in the debate that followed, the vast majority arguing in favour of the motion. Some were worried that the union’s members are too demoralised to build national support after years of management assaults, and in the face of severe workplace bullying.

But most agreed that it was the job of delegates to explain the seriousness of the attack to their members. Royal Mail will try to isolate the London fightback, claiming they want to be treated as a special case. This is not true—this is a real attack on the whole service.

Paul Garraway, from South Central No 1 branch, told Socialist Worker, “I spoke in the debate because this was the most important motion of the conference. It’s great that people voted for a general strike on Monday. But that’s all hot air if they break the union. We cannot leave any part of the union fighting on its own.

“The strike in London will be crucial for the future of both Royal Mail and the CWU so it’s vital that we do everything in our power to make sure the union wins.”

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