The Communication Workers’ Union held a national briefing in Leeds on Thursday of last week over its campaign against the threat of post privatisation.
There were reports detailing how regional committees and branches had succeeded in gaining 162 signatures, including 153 Labour MPs, for early day motion 548, calling for Royal Mail to remain 100 percent publicly owned.
Many reports told of how branches were using leaflets, posters, petitions and badges to get the anti-privatisation message across to CWU members.
However, it became clear during the discussion that while some branches saw campaigning in the Labour Party as the focus, others were concerned that not enough was being done to get the message across to rank and file members and the general public.
A number of delegates called for a more coordinated campaign, with an explicit strategy to guide branches.
The CWU head office has concentrated its campaign on lobbying Labour MPs, the TUC and Labour Party conference.
But early day motions in parliament are a statement of opinion. They do not get voted on, and Labour conference motions don’t set government policy.
The CWU nationally has also made a submission to George Bain’s review on the future of the post office. It now seems to be waiting for his report rather than intensifying the campaign.
Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton and trade secretary Alan Johnson have both talked of giving employees “shares” in the business.
They have claimed that this would not be privatisation, as these shares could not be sold on the open market.
Such a scheme would not need the consent of MPs. The CWU needs to make sure that if any such deal is offered to members, they have already been convinced that they should reject it.