‘THIS has been the best-supported strike I’ve ever seen,’ CWU General Secretary, Billy Hayes told striking postal workers in Peckham yesterday.
This was after the membership of the CWU showed by their almost 100 per cent support for the strike action that they understood the gravity of the attack on them by a management and government determined to privatise the Post Office and the Royal Mail, casualise the workforce and smash the CWU.
Hayes added: ‘Its been a fantastic day for the union and I think we’re going to win this.’
Dave Ward, the union’s assistant general secretary, told News Line: ‘We’re receiving reports from right across the country that it’s the best-supported strike we’ve ever had, in all regions.’
When asked how the union would respond to attempts to victimise members or other attacks on the union Ward said ‘it is too early for us to say that other public sector workers should come to our aid as such.’
He added: ‘We are willing to talk to other public sector unions, and there will be a meeting between ourselves and Mark Serwotka (PCS civil service union leader) so we both understand each other’s disputes and we can work together to bring an acceptable solution.’
So despite the combativity that has been shown by the membership of the union, its leaders remain on the defensive hoping that the magnificent turn-out by their members will convince Royal Mail and the government to negotiate then capitulate.
In fact, Royal Mail has made it clear that it is preparing for a long and bitter dispute which its leaders have compared to the miners’ strike.
Nobody can say that they have not been warned. The miners’ strike lasted a year and saw a Tory government support the National Coal Board with every strike breaking facility required, from organising scabs, to state attacks on picket lines and on the union through the courts, using industrial relations laws.
In the last four years or more, postal privateers have established themselves in Britain, and there is every reason for thinking that at some time or other, sooner perhaps rather than later, they will be let loose by the government to play a strike breaking part in the struggle against the CWU.
After the magnificent support for the 24-hour strike action the CWU leaders must be made to take the struggle forward, with a view to winning it.
They must meet at once with the other public sector trade unions and demand that they operate their just passed resolutions at the GMB and UNISON conferences for coordinated strike action across the public sector against the government’s job cutting and wage cutting policies.
The PCS has already made such a call, so the leaders of UNISON and the GMB must be urged to carry out their conference policy on coordinated industrial action.
The membership of the CWU must give their leaders a big push.
The local branches of the CWU should organise councils of action in their areas made up of all the local branches of all of the trade unions plus all community and youth organisations.
These councils of action must then organise local strike actions and demonstrations in support of the postal workers and all other public sector workers under attack, and create the conditions for forcing the union leaderships to call national strike action.
As well, postal workers and civil servants must see to it that their unions put down motions for the TUC Congress that will give Brown an ultimatum that the TUC will not tolerate a government that supports mass privatisation and mass wage cutting in the public sector and brings in private equity capitalists such as Permira’s Buffini into its camp as advisers, and even sources of funding.
Unions such as the CWU must see to it that the TUC tells Brown plainly that he must abandon his jobs massacre, and wage cutting policies for the public sector or else face a general strike called by the TUC that will bring down his government and bring in a workers government. This is what must be done to make sure that workers in Britain have a future.