AFTER weeks of secret talks, which were extended by a further week and were conducted behind the backs of the CWU membership, the Royal Mail has arrogantly declared that the ‘period of calm is over’ and that it is now going to go over to all out war against the CWU and its members, to impose its wage cutting, job cutting, pension busting programme onto over 160,000 workers.
In fact, it is clear that Royal Mail agreed to the pause, ‘the period of calm’, because of its shock at the massive support for the strike action and the way that it strengthened over the weeks of struggle.
Royal Mail, no doubt, feared that the national demonstration on August 21, that the members of the CWU forced upon the leadership, would turn out to be a one-day general strike by millions of public sector workers.
During these weeks of secret talks, which have got absolutely nowhere, Royal Mail has been organising its strike breaking plans, and strike breaking forces, involving the government and a number of the private companies which are now seeking the privatisation of the industry.
Anyone who doubts this should remember that it was Leighton and Crozier who promised the postal workers another miners’ strike if they resisted the plans of the Royal Mail.
Having tested out the ultra reformist passivity of the CWU leadership to the full, the Royal Mail will now pull out all the stops to push its measures through, confident that the CWU leaders will never organise serious opposition and lack the political will to win the struggle.
For Royal Mail workers there is no way out except to struggle to defeat Royal Mail and the Brown government and to build up a new leadership in the union in the course of the struggle, to do the job that is required.
Royal Mail workers are already demanding that the CWU leaders immediately call national indefinite strike action as the only effective answer to the arrogant bully boys of Royal Mail and the Brown government.
This must be just the start.
The CWU leaders must put down an emergency resolution at this week’s TUC Congress to call on all public sector trade unions to take strike action alongside them and in support of them, since the whole public sector is threatened by pay and job cuts and privatisation.
As well, such a resolution must set a new date for a national demonstration which will bring millions of workers out onto the streets against Royal Mail and the Brown government.
This is the way forward and CWU members must see to it that the opportunity presented by the ongoing TUC Congress is not missed.
Yesterday Barber offered to the CWU full solidarity and today he must be made to begin delivering it.
However, this struggle is not just an industrial question, it is a political matter as well.
With a huge debt crisis gripping the banks, Premier Brown is insisting that all public sector wages must be cut for the good of the country (read bosses).
There must be a political solution to the crisis that is engulfing the Royal Mail workers and millions of other workers.
This solution can only be that the trade unions take action against the Brown government and bring it down to go forward to a workers government that will expropriate the bankers and the bosses and go forward to socialism.
This is the way to get rid of the crisis-ridden system that is once again producing extreme poverty for the many in the midst of absolute luxury for the relative few.
The bottom line, however, is that the Royal Mail and the Brown government have thrown down the gauntlet and the CWU and the rest of the trade union movement at the TUC Congress must pick it up, and organise to defeat Royal Mail and the Brown government.