Socialist Worker

CWU union debates Labour, Ukip, Scottish independence and benefits

by Annette Mackin, in Bournemouth
Issue No. 2401

Some 800 workers attended the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) annual conference in Bournemouth this week.

The mood was subdued after a year in which Royal Mail was privatised, with many members yet to face the full effects of the selloff.

Delegates voted for the union leadership's proposition recommending that members in Scotland vote no in the upcoming independence referendum.

Willie Marshall from Scotland no 2 branch called it a "stitch up" and argued that it was up to members in Scotland to decide on how to vote.

Members voted unanimously to support Disabled People Against Cuts and the Anti Bedroom Tax Federation, calling on the leadership to support demonstrations and circulate publicity.

The conference also revealed anger and frustration at the Labour Party after its attacks on unions.

Some ten branches from around the country submitted motions criticising Labour for failure to represent working class interests.

Two branches submitted a motion calling for the union to withdraw funding from Labour if its manifesto for the general election does not commit to renationalising Royal Mail.

An emergency motion moved by the leadership stated that Labour’s Collins report requires the union to hold a ballot of all its members on the maintenance of a political fund by October this year.

If a vote is carried to maintain the political fund, members will be then given the opportunity to opt in or out of contributing to Labour.

Members voted to accept the motion, but there were critical comments.

"It’s important we have a political fund in spite of the Labour Party,” said Paul Garraway from South Central postal branch.

"Labour has bitten the hand that feeds it. It lectures about democracy, but when its conference voted to renationalise Royal Mail they said they weren't going to do it."

Up to 70 people heard Unite Against Fascism general secretary Weyman Bennett, Linda Woodings and Asghar Khan speak at the equality fringe on Sunday lunchtime.

It was agreed that information should be circulated to all post workers that they can refuse to deliver Ukip propaganda on the grounds they find it offensive.

The postal and financial conferences were set to begin as Socialist Worker went to press.

Post Office counters dispute ends with a pay deal

The CWU union has reached a pay deal with the Post Office after a dispute which saw workers strike 14 times in the last year.

Workers will receive a 7.3 percent pay rise over three years.  They will also receive a lump sum of £2,300 with a further £1,000 paid in 2014-15 in two instalments.

But the dispute was more than just about pay. Workers were furious at plans to close or franchise 76 offices with the loss of 1,500 jobs, which the agreement doesn’t fully take on.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 29 Apr 2014, 17:48 BST
Issue No. 2401
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.