The strike has been absolutely solid because as postal workers know this is a fight to the finish for their jobs, their union and the future of Royal Mail as a public service and not something for the profits of the bosses.
Adam Crozier backed up by the Labour government and the unelected Lord Mandelson set out from the beginning to break the will of the workers to resist their plans to make the Royal Mail fit for privatisation.
The role of the Labour government in these attacks reinforces the call by members to stop financing the Labour Party. It also emphasises that the CWU along with other unions need their own political voice.
The CWU should join the campaign to build a new workers' party as part of their overall strategy to win this battle against privatisation and the ending of the post office as a public service.
In the management's leaked document they laid out a number of scenarios to bring the union to heel including threatening "de-recognition" with "only the legal minimum engagement" with the union and reps.
The bosses recognise that without an effective union on the shop floor then they will be able to run roughshod over all the painfully built up working conditions won over decades of struggle. They hoped to frighten the CWU leadership into accepting their plans as "the lesser evil" but it is clear that the CWU branches were not prepared to be blackmailed and the leadership were forced to accept this.
The bosses call for “modernisation” is a euphemism for job cuts, pay cuts and the introduction of a regime in the workplace of fear and intimidation.
What happens now will be determined by what tactics are adopted to win this struggle by the leadership of the union.
Sectional strikes have had a big effect so far in the sense that tens of millions of items of post are blocked up in the system much to the chagrin of management (though it still seems to mean that some workers such as drivers have been penalised for not crossing picket lines in the delivery ofﬁces) but what is required now is a clear strategy that will increase the pressure on the bosses and at the same time demonstrate that the postal workers are determined to win this crucial battle.
Discontinuous action up to Christmas seems to be the leadership's strategy as far as the CWU itself is concerned but what is required is a dual tactic of also appealing to the undoubted large amounts of support there is amongst other workers, particularly in the rest of the public sector.
The CWU should make this appeal both at national and local level by means of initiating meetings with their opposite numbers in other public sector unions such as Unison (council and health workers) PCS (civil servants) and other unions such as Unite, the FBU and the GMB.
There should be a clear call for solidarity action by other unions on the basis that the postal workers strike is their ﬁght as well. All public sector workers are facing massive attacks either now or in the future.
Strikes are already taking place around the country, such as Leeds bin workers who have been on all out strike for eight weeks.
Fire ﬁghters are also taking action in Yorkshire, Essex, Merseyside and London.
Bus workers are on strike in south Yorkshire.
A clear call to unite the struggles by the CWU leadership would in our opinion receive widespread support.
The union should organise city wide rallies and demos with a call to all unions to join in and back them. At these rallies the union leaders should call for solidarity action by all workers the next time the postal strikes take.
It is increasingly clear that if the bosses still prevaricate then sooner rather than later the union should prepare the members for an all out strike that will force the bosses to retreat. We cannot allow the bosses any longer to dictate the pace of events. They should be left in no doubt that we will not have another 2007-type deal that is used by the bosses to bully and intimidate workers as individuals that after all is why we are in a union.
The Socialist Party calls for:
- CWU to demand support from the whole trade union movement if Royal Mail try to break the strikes with scabs.
- No more “modernisation” deals - end the attacks once and for all.
- Defend all jobs, pensions and conditions.
- No to increased workloads.
- Defend the union, defend the reps.
- Bring back ‘in house’ all previously privatised work.
- For a united ﬁght to defend public services across all public sector trade unions.