Socialist Worker


Key union leader says Labour has surrendered to the fat cats

05 July 2003
TONY WOODLEY, the newly elected general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU), laid into New Labour at the union's conference in Brighton this week. He accused the government of surrendering to big business. He made a devastating criticism of Alan Johnson, former leader of the CWU union, who is now a New Labour minister.

Local unity can beat back the BNP Nazis

28 June 2003
"UNIONS HAVE been mobilising and we expect good delegations from the postal workers' CWU and firefighters' FBU," says Matt Saywell. He is a member of Broxbourne Against Racism, which is mobilising for Saturday's march in the Hertfordshire town where the BNP has one councillor. "The GMB London Region is also supporting the march, as are local churches," says Matt. "We've had a really good response from local people."

The political ferment has reached everyone

14 June 2003
THIS YEAR'S conference of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) was the most political ever. There is sometimes a sense in the union that the "big politics" discussions are the preserve of relatively few activists and that the rest do not really get engaged until the nitty-gritty discussions about pay, jobs and hours. If that were ever true, it certainly wasn't this year.

Showing signs of bitterness

07 June 2003
IN EVERY debate at last week's CWU conference there was anger about various aspects of New Labour policies. This wasn't just shown over the war on Iraq (see here). CWU delegates condemned New Labour for their treatment of the firefighters during their recent pay dispute.

CWU union slams Blair's war and backs Galloway

07 June 2003
OPPOSITION TO the war in Iraq goes deep into the union movement. The tone was set this week at the CWU union conference for postal and telecoms workers in Bournemouth. In his opening address general secretary Billy Hayes said, "We can't buy into Bush's plans for the world.

Vote shows desire for a fighting union

31 May 2003
TONY BLAIR'S candidate for a top position in the postal workers' CWU union was soundly defeated last week. John Keggie, a member of Labour's national executive, was defeated by Dave Ward for the post of deputy general secretary (postal). This is the position which Keggie presently holds. Keggie took 16,814 votes - Ward won 19,404.

Postal workers

24 May 2003
POSTAL WORKERS in London are continuing their pay campaign although the prospect of unofficial action is unlikely in the short term. London branch secretaries and reps met the CWU union's general secretary, Billy Hayes, last week.

Turn heavy vote into action on London weighting

10 May 2003
IN ONE of the most extraordinary trade union ballots in history, London postal workers have voted by 19,803 to 91 votes for action over pay. This could lead to unofficial action that would stop the post across London. The ballot was a 99.5 percent vote to take on Post Office bosses. It was called unofficially because national CWU union leaders refused to sanction it.


19 April 2003
A STRIKE planned by thousands of BT engineers was called off last week after the employers won a high court injunction. Bosses claimed that the workers' CWU union had failed to give the necessary notice required under the anti-union laws.

Thousands of BT workers to strike

12 April 2003
UP TO 14,000 BT workers are set to strike for 24 hours on Monday. The action is the first in a series of stoppages called by the workers' CWU union in a fight to stop a divisive new pay and bonus scheme. Those involved in the action are engineers and control staff doing work for BT's residential customers.

A chance for all to gain over pay

05 April 2003
LONDON POSTAL workers have this week started an unofficial ballot for action to win an improved London weighting. The decision, which was provoked by the failure of the CWU union's pay campaign to deliver results, has caused fierce argument inside the union. Even branches and individuals who would normally back militant action have criticised London for "trying to take money from the rest of the country".

Long distance connections

22 March 2003
WORKERS AT 34 BT call centres were to stage protests on Thursday of this week over the company's plans to axe 2,200 jobs and transfer work to India. The battle goes to the heart of debates over capitalist globalisation. Some commentators have argued that opposing BT's plans will hit Indian workers, and so is based on a narrow nationalist outlook. The workers' CWU union has rightly rejected this argument.

How to win on pay

22 March 2003
AROUND 30,000 postal workers in London begin a consultative ballot on 31 March for action over the London weighting allowance. The region is acting because the national union has refused to launch the campaign. MARK DOLAN, a north London branch official, explains why CWU members should vote yes for action.

Postal workers

23 November 2002
OVER 3,000 postal workers were on the verge of strikes against privatisation as Socialist Worker went to press. Strikes will go ahead unless Royal Mail managers back off completely from their plan to hand the Cash Handling and Distribution (CHD) section over to Securicor. Talks between management and the CWU union were planned to take place this week. On a 67 percent turnout CHD members voted by a remarkable 95 percent for action. Immediately after the vote Royal Mail and Securicor announced they were dropping their original privatisation plan.

Key battle looms against privateers

16 November 2002
THOUSANDS OF postal workers could soon be on strike. The result of a strike ballot among 3,500 workers in the cash handling and distribution section was due to be announced this week. Everyone expected it to be a big yes for action and that leaders of the CWU union would have to immediately set out dates for strikes.

Union with the unions?

16 November 2002
THOUSANDS OF trade unionists came to the European Social Forum. Their numbers reflected the rise in workers' struggle in much of Europe. There were members of many British unions present, including the CWU, RMT, Amicus, Unison, PCS, NUJ, Natfhe, Prospect, NUT and TGWU. There were more than 2,000 people at just one of the meetings on trade union struggles.

Newcastle demonstration against privatisation

19 October 2002
A MAJOR demonstration and rally are planned in Newcastle upon Tyne in suppport of public services and against privatisation. GMB union general secretary John Edmonds and CWU union general secretary Billy Hayes are among the speakers.

Post revolt against new privatisation

05 October 2002
STRIKES ARE back in the Post Office. The anger against management last week burst through the union leaders' efforts to hold it back. A quarter of the Post Office's cash handling network was closed by unofficial walkouts at the beginning of last week as CWU union members reacted angrily to a management briefing.

Union leaders are dithering, but build a big vote for action

14 September 2002
POSTAL workers across Britain have begun a strike ballot at long last. It has been called by the CWU union in opposition to management plans to launch a joint venture with one of Britain's nastiest multinationals. Bosses want to transfer CWU union members in the Romec cleaning and maintenance section to a new company 49 percent owned by construction group Balfour Beatty. After weeks of delay the ballot began last week.

Transport from all over Britain

07 September 2002
CAMPAIGNERS in the Stop the War Coalition are uniting with local groups to get transport from across Britain to the 28 September demonstration. A 640-seat train is running through Glasgow and Edinburgh to the march. A further five coaches are booked from Edinburgh, and transport is organised from Greenock, Fife, Aberdeen and Dundee. In Runcorn, in the north west of England, and Bristol the postal workers' CWU union is running its own coaches to the demonstration. In Cardiff the CWU union has given £200 to help fund transport from the area. Around 100 coaches are booked from Birmingham. Around £10,000 has been raised to pay for billboard and newspaper adverts in the ru

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