THE CWU postal workers trade union has been forced to take strike action, very much against the wishes of the CWU leadership, by a Royal Mail management and a government that is determined to privatise the Royal Mail and the Post Office, casualise the workforce and destroy the CWU trade union.
The CWU leaders conducted the strike ballot which got a magnificent 76 per cent vote for strike action, as a ploy to try to force the Royal Mail management into negotiations that would result in a compromise.
However, the management has been totally unresponsive to such a ploy. Instead it has emphasised that there is no more on the table, because there is no more money – therefore they are unable to make any concessions to the just and modest demands of the trade union.
Management has also made it plain that it has made strike breaking plans, most of which are secret, and has warned the workers that if they resist and take strike action, they face another miners strike, ie. a very bitter and protracted struggle.
The union leadership has tried to shrug these threats off as melodramatic, and has urged the management to come to their senses.
The Royal Mail workforce however are much more conscious than their leadership.
It wants to take not one day or two day’s strike action, but indefinite strike action, until the Brown government and the Royal Mail are beaten, and their jobs and homes secured.
The rank and file of the CWU recognise that this is a very serious situation and that behind the scenes the bosses and bankers are saying that this is Brown’s big test. The bosses are insisting that Brown must do everything necessary to beat the postal workers to keep their support, and the friend of the private equity capitalists will do just that.
Meanwhile, behind the over a hundred thousand Royal Mail workers, stands the whole of the public sector. A defeat for the postal workers will mean that the whole public sector will be taken to the cleaners by the bosses and the government.
This is why at all of the summer TU conferences, a struggle has been taking place with delegates demanding that coordinated strike action be organised across the entire public sector to defeat the wage cutting, job destroying Brown government.
The more the rank and file delegates demand a real fighting public sector alliance the more the union leaders run to their lawyers and call them into gag union conferences.
The issue is that the postal workers must not be allowed to fight alone, and the employers must not be allowed to isolate them, as Harold Wilson did to the the seafarers in 1966, when he accused a right wing trade union leadership of organising a communist conspiracy.
The demand must go up throughout the whole public sector for the whole trade union movement to walk out along with the postal workers.
The pleadings of the trade union bureaucracy that there be ballots over a period of months to satisfy Tory and Labour anti-working class laws does not answer the demands of the hour.
Workers must organise special meetings at their work places and resolve that the postal workers will not be allowed to fight alone, and that the working class must walk out with them.
Councils of Action must be organised by the local unions to bring together every trade union and every community organisation to take strike action and other solidarity actions with the postal workers.
In fact the movement must be rapidly built up to organise a general strike, the way the dockers did after the Pentonville jailings in 1972.
Above all the movement must understand that defeating the Brown government means bringing it down and stopping any idea of a return of the Tories by going forward to a workers government that will carry out socialist policies.