Socialist Worker

Big yes vote is needed to push national leaders

AROUND 30,000 postal workers in London begin a consultative ballot for action over London weighting next week. Their CWU national union has refused to launch the campaign so the region is taking action itself. Norman Candy, the CWU London divisional re

Issue No. 1841

'WE'RE ASKING the members whether they support the claim for £4,000 London weighting and also whether they are prepared to take whatever action is necessary to win it. Unfortunately the national union leaders are refusing to sanction such a ballot, despite us asking them to do so.

That's why we have done it ourselves. If, as we believe, we get a strong vote for action then it will be a mandate for us to go further with the campaign and also to put pressure on John Keggie, the union's deputy general secretary.

Should John Keggie refuse to move then we would have to discuss what steps are needed next. This is not about London trying to break up the system of national pay bargaining or seeking to get more at the expense of other postal workers. The problem is that the union's pay strategy has not tackled the way that the cost of living has soared in the capital.

A post worker in London now has less spending power than a post worker in the majority of areas in the rest of Britain. Londoners' rents are 74 percent higher than the rest of the country.

The proportion of salary spent on housing is three times more than the average for Britain. The vast majority of services that working people use - childcare, repairs and maintenance, and so on - cost around a third more than elsewhere. The union has to address this.

There is a very dangerous myth put around by people like John Keggie that we are out to get more by taking cash off other areas. In other words, every pound that London gets will be a pound less for someone in Glasgow or Birmingham or Exeter.

This assumes that the business has a fixed amount of money for wages and workers have to fight over who gets what. We are for an argument and a fight over the size of the pot. We want more money from the Post Office for the people who do the work.

The whole union should take on the issue of pay, not just be fighting over the scraps. It is not just people in London who understand our case. There are good people everywhere who can see that a successful campaign in London can boost the pay fight for everyone.

The union's research department has investigated the case over London weighting and found that we are right. Now we want action. We want a big yes vote and then a proper discussion about how to take the fight forwards.'

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Sat 8 Mar 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1841
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