Answer Tory Royal Mail Provocation With A General Strike

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ROYAL Mail shares are to be sold by mid-October, with the government under-pricing the industry and selling for between £2.6bn to £3.3bn to make a very quick sale. The privatised company will be listed on the London Stock Exchange from October 15.

Big business and the BBC were chuckling yesterday at the sheer arrogance of the Tory government provocation. This will see the industry completely in private hands before the result of the CWU strike ballot over some of the conditions that privatisation will impose on the workforce is even known.

The industry will have been stolen by the privateers from under the noses of the trade unions while they are going through government-imposed trade union procedures!

The CWU’s ballot of over 100,000 members began yesterday and will not be counted until October 16th, with any legal strike action possible only from October 23.

No wonder the privateers and their government are chuckling.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said yesterday: ‘It seems remarkable that the prospectus is being issued on the same day that postal workers are being sent ballot papers for strike action. Today’s announcement changes nothing in terms of the ballot which will go ahead as notified.’

The Hayes tactic of carrying on as if nothing has happened is not an option for winning the struggle, as all postal workers realise.

Strike actions from 23 October will be held under a rapacious private employer who will, no doubt, have plans and actions prepared to break strikes and the unions, and an understanding with the government that they will get its full support, even to the point of imposing a national lockout and a massive use of zero-contract strikebreakers.

There is no doubt that the majority of the people in the UK support the Royal Mail and are opposed to the post being turned into another licence to print money for privateers.

The CWU, as well, has the support of the TUC and the Labour Party conference for the fight against Royal Mail privatisation.

Its motion to the Labour Party conference stated that: ‘Conference believes it is vital Labour is seen to defend the public postal service. The most recent YouGov poll registered 67 per cent against the privatisation of Royal Mail…

‘Finally, Conference agrees organising against the proposed sale should be an immediate focus for the Labour Party.’

The CWU’s motion to the TUC Congress, which was moved by deputy general secretary Dave Ward, called on the six million-strong union federation to: ‘Support the campaign to Save Our Royal Mail’, and asked every one of the 54 affiliated unions to ‘participate in its activities’.

It added: ‘Congress applauds the decision of postal workers to reject privatisation in an independent ballot by 96% on a 74% turnout. This was despite government attempts to buy off the workforce with suggestions of a distribution of shares to staff…

‘Congress agrees to support the campaign to Save Our Royal Mail (SORM), and directs the General Council to ensure the TUC’s participation in its initiatives.’

With yesterday’s provocative announcement of the listing of the Royal Mail on the Stock Exchange, and privatisation by October 15, the Tory-led coalition has thrown down the gauntlet not just to the CWU, the TUC and the Labour Party, but to the majority of the British people.

The Tory-led coalition must be stopped privatising Royal Mail.

The CWU and the managers union Unite must call immediate strike action and demand that the TUC support it with a general strike and the formation of Workers Councils throughout the UK, to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers government and socialism.

This will put an end to the privatisations which have made the rich much richer but added thousands of pounds to the cost of living for the working class and middle class.