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Post strike and globalisation

22 Jun 2007, 12:38

An interesting article from A World to Win Blog ... ation.html

Friiday, June 22, 2007
Post strike and globalisation

At the heart of the looming confrontation between Royal Mail management and New Labour on one side and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) on the other, is the nature of public services in a period of free-market globalisation. Although still state owned, the Royal Mail is an arms-length company that is actually run as a business concern by extremely overpaid executives. They insist that the business has to "modernise" to face up to more efficient, cheaper competitors in Britain and internationally. The CWU fears that up to 40,000 jobs are at risk. A one-day strike on June 29 is planned over pay and in an attempt to put pressure on Royal Mail to change its plans to make thousands redundant. Following a breakdown in talks yesterday, CWU admitted that management had refused to negotiate a settlement higher than 2.5% or change its plans. Dave Ward, the union's deputy general secretary, accused the Royal Mail of "deliberately misleading" the public by claiming that the union was demanding a 27% pay rise and opposing modernisation. Ward said: "What Royal Mail are doing is not modernisation. The truth is, they are intent on cutting services, cutting jobs and cutting pay. We have tried to reach an agreement but Royal Mail are refusing to negotiate."

If the CWU believes that a series of one-day strikes will force meaningful concessions from Royal Mail or the government they are sorely mistaken. Trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling condemned the planned strike, saying it would be "extremely damaging" for the Royal Mail and its customers. The stoppage will take place just two days after Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister, and he is in total support of competition and "open markets" and will not yield to the CWU. The government is already shutting down thousands of post offices claiming that they are losing money, and ignoring their function as a vital public service. Ministers agree with Royal Mail chief executive Adam Crozier when he says: "We are losing business because we have failed to change and modernise - and as a result, our costs and therefore our prices are higher than those that rivals are charging in the intensely competitive business mail market, which makes up 90% of all postings." What’s at stake, therefore, is control of the Royal Mail. So long as it remains a profit-centred business competing with capitalist rivals, jobs will go and services will be cut. The CWU is therefore engaging in a political strike against a government which champions globalisation and which is standing behind bosses like Crozier, who is understood to have received a bonus of up to £370,000, taking his total package to more than £1 million. Isolated one-day strikes are inadequate and a poor response to a massive 77% majority for strike action. To widen support for their action, CWU leaders have to bring these issues out and put forward alternative, democratic, not-for-profit ways of running the Royal Mail. The CWU has to involve the rail unions and others in mounting a full-scale challenge to the government if it is to succeed.

Paul Feldman, communications editor

22 Jun 2007, 13:05

Time to break away from the Labour Party and use the CWU political levy for MPs that support the Unions views
Crozier and Leighton were appointed and supported by this Goverment

NEW Labour Old Tory

Message for the Incoming Prime Minister:

*What profits a Man if he gains the whole World and loses his soul in the Process"

Ps I doubt if he would understand that being a so called socialist :lfo :cfo :lfo :cfo

22 Jun 2007, 15:31

From 'Freedom' fortnighly.

A battle between postal workers and managers over the future of the Royal Mail looks set to turn nasty following a litany of attacks on working conditions, staffing numbers and now wages. As one of the most significant workplace battles of recent years comes to the boil, Freedom talks to Pat (the postman) about how class warfare is in the post:

“The strike is important because the CWU is one of the last of the big unions and, although undeniably reformist, is viewed as a threat by the business-friendly major political parties.

“The leadership might be Labour, but at grass roots level the CWU has a large hard core of militant trade unionists. Many of them have previously worked in other industries with a history of fighting the employer. Others began their working lives as Postal Cadets, seeing their conditions improve when the old UPW/UCW was a byword for militant action, and deteriorate as the leadership fell under the spell of Blair.

“If we lose, we are looking at massive job losses, even more unmanageable workloads, mail being delivered in mid-afternoon, closure of smaller delivery offices. Because Royal Mail and the Government have friends in the media, we have little support among the general public, but given time they will see closure of local post offices, later delivery times and a massive increase in unwanted junk mail.

“That the CWU might sell us out is a concern. (CWU General Secretary) Billy Hayes’ constant clinging to the Labour link is an embarrassment. No matter how many hospital wards or schools close, regardless that child poverty has increased, that they’re engaged in an illegal war or that thanks to his party and its treatment of asylum seekers racism is on the rise Billy remains a puppet. The CWU even closed its internet forum because of irate posties telling Billy and his chums exactly how life really is. It’s possible that Gordon Brown will phone Billy and ask him to call the whole thing off. If that happens, it gives the Government a free hand to work us into an even earlier grave.

“This had been about more than the pay issue and workers have taken the opportunity to include the stringent absence procedure, the arbitrary conduct code, and harassment by junior managers, late start times, inadequate equipment and not being allowed holidays when required in their decision to vote Yes. If our office is any barometer of feeling, it will be solid. One or two strike breakers might turn in, but their effect will be minimal. Leighton has misjudged the mood just as he did in 2003 when we lost the pay ballot.

“We can win. There is plenty of militancy on the shop floor. We’ve been fighting the bosses since the day we left school and some managerial fart in a suit carrying sandwiches in his briefcase and sod all in his head holds no fears for us.

“For trade unionists, a victory over Royal Mail and therefore the Government would be a boost. For many younger staff, this will be their first experience of industrial action. A victory would give them confidence and a clear view of what can be achieved by solidarity.

“The more support we have from our anarchist comrades and those on the left who see this as a genuine workers’ struggle and not just another recruiting campaign for their particular pressure group the easier the victory will be. The more CWU members realise their interests lie outside of any political party the better for us and the worse for Leighton, Crozier and that whole mob of asset strippers.â€

22 Jun 2007, 15:33

and from World Revolution, which I've never head of before:

Postal workers need to take the struggle into their own hands

The result of the ballot held by the Communication Workers Union – over 77% in favour of industrial action in a two-thirds turn-out – is an indication that there is a great deal of anger amongst postal workers about the latest attack on their pay and conditions: a 2.5% pay offer which is well under the rate of inflation, and plans for ‘modernising’ Royal Mail which will mean job cuts and deteriorating conditions at work.
However, no date has been set for industrial action and no sooner had the result been announced than union leaders were proclaiming their willingness to avoid a strike through negotiations. On top of that, if the action does take place, it will most likely take the form of a series of one-day, ‘rolling’ strikes.
In short, the CWU is getting ready either to prevent a strike altogether, or to make sure it is as ineffective as possible if it does happen.
Many militant workers argue that the best response to such sabotage is to demand an all-out, indefinite strike. But the tactics and methods of the struggle is something that workers themselves need to debate. The ballot system, in fact the whole hierarchical union structure, does not allow such a debate to take place, still less does it enable the workers, organised at work, to make and carry out their own decisions. In virtually every struggle in the post office in recent years, workers have ignored the official union procedures and voted in mass meetings to come out on strike. Such mass meetings need to be held again now, to discuss the best means for waging this struggle, and to coordinate directly with other workplaces.
Obviously any action in the Royal Mail needs to involve as many postal workers as possible, regardless of workplace or category But the strength of any movement of the working class does not reside in its ability to hold out for as long as possible against the bosses, who will always have the support of the rest of the ruling class, their media and their state. It resides above all in the ability of the struggle to spread, to become a mass struggle that builds a balance of forces against the bosses and the state.
It is not only postal workers who face attacks on their pay and conditions. There is growing discontent in the NHS, in the civil service, in education, in the Airbus factories, in transport and many other sectors. Postal workers discussing industrial action should also discuss how to make links with other sectors, how to win their solidarity, how to act together. And here again they cannot rely on the unions. They need to go directly to other workplaces and sectors, sending delegations to the nearest factory, hospital or school, holding joint meetings, raising common demands. These are the methods of struggle that alone can make our exploiters think twice about exploiting us even harder than they are already. And they are also the methods that allow us to seriously pose the question of how we can do away with exploitation altogether, and reorganise society in the interests of the vast majority of humanity. WR 8/6/7

22 Jun 2007, 19:42

Nice one.
What is really required is an Amalgamation of all public Trade unions into one European public workers trade Union Giant.
Trade unions as they stand as individuals are not strong enough to tackle the Employers who are backed by the Goverment.

Postal services should be one European Giant paying the same rate of pay and conditions with a Universal postage price after all they are a public service.

True it would lead to some old farts losing their jobs so what!!

Europe is changing, Trade unions need to change to meet this challenge and so do out of date dinosaurs like Leighton & Crozeir.

If we lose this strike then all public workers trade unions will come under attack from this New Labour
(Old Tory Goverment)

:lfo :cfo :lfo

22 Jun 2007, 20:24

The idea of the founders of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905 was (and remains) One Big Union.

Preamble to the I.W.W Constitution.

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.

Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.

We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers.

These conditions can be changed and the interest of the working class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its members in any one industry, or in all industries if necessary, cease work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus making an injury to one an injury to all.

Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wage system."

It is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. The army of production must be organized, not only for everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.

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