POSTAL workers in towns and cities all over the UK were forced out on unofficial strike yesterday morning when management sought to impose the massive flexibility changes that the CWU membership have rejected and have been fighting with strike actions for the last three months.
At the same time Labour Prime Minister Brown in the House of Commons declared his solidarity with the Royal Mail bosses, saying that there was ‘no justification for the continuation of this dispute’ and that postal workers must ‘get back to work’ and accept the terms that they had already been offered.
The fact is that the leaders of the CWU have been bending over backwards to try and get a compromise agreement.
Recently they had more than three weeks of secret talks with Royal Mail to try and achieve a compromise settlement, during which the union leaders made major concessions to Royal Mail over pensions and pay – all to no avail.
Premier Brown does not want a compromise, and Royal Mail does not want compromise. They want nothing more or less than to have complete power over the workforce, on a minute by minute basis, and for the CWU to be a union just in name, and in practice to have no power at all.
After Royal Mail’s bullying tactics yesterday morning the dispute has reached a new and clearly defined stage, in which there is not going to be any form of compromise, and all of the bowing and scraping of the CWU leaders in front of Royal Mail bosses, Crozier and Leighton has achieved exactly nothing.
Since there is not going to be a compromise, everything must now be done that is necessary to win the dispute.
The first thing that must be done is that the CWU leaders must call an all-out indefinite strike, and not allow a situation to develop where some areas are out on unofficial strike and under the threat of legal action, and where some areas of the union are at work.
There must be indefinite strike action called, and there must be an emergency meeting of the public sector trade unions called to bring full support to the postal workers.
Everybody knows that Chancellor Darling’s £30 billion of cuts and three years of a two per cent pay rise limit (in fact three years of wage cutting) will mean mass sackings in the public sector and a pauperisation of those who remain in work.
The arrogance that has been shown to the postal workers has already been shown to the PCS civil servants and will be shown to the whole public sector by the Thatcher-admiring Brown government.
It is in the interests of the whole of the public sector that the CWU wins its struggle.
Therefore, this is the time when the entire public sector must take strike action alongside the postal workers in a general strike to fight the anti-union managements and the government.
Such a general strike cannot be a protest. It must bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and the bankers and develop the public sector, instead of privatising it and ruining it.
All those who say that this would be introducing politics into an industrial struggle ignore the fact that is staring them in the face, that the Brown government is the author of all of the attacks that are taking place on public sector workers in Britain.
There must be a political solution to this crisis, and this means there must be a general strike to bring down the Brown government, or else face a return to the hungry 1930s.
Postal workers and all workers must fight for this action. They must set up Councils of Action in the localities to bring together all local trade unions and communities to fight alongside the postal workers for a general strike to bring down the Brown government.
This is the only way forward.