AFTER around eight or so weeks of secret negotiations – on-off-on talks – the CWU postal executive has capitulated to the Hayes Ward leadership, which some time ago capitulated to the demands of the Royal Mail and the Labour government for the imposition of wage cuts, super-flexibility, pension busting and mass redundancies onto postal workers.
The membership must now take control of proceedings and throw out this rotten deal.
Final salary pensions for all must be defended with the right to retirement at 60 for all.
Otherwise, the labour force will be split, and the management will have a basis to drive the longer established and ‘more expensive workers’ out of the industry through making their lives intolerable by all possible means, until they take redundancy.
On wages, as everybody knows, the difference between the government’s CPI inflation rate figure, and the real rate of inflation is enormous – petrol and foodstuffs are now going up in price on a daily basis, while rising mortgage interest rates are costing workers a fortune.
At the same time the government is insisting that the public sector must be forced to accept below inflation rate ‘wage rises’ ie wage cuts. This must be defeated as it constitutes the road to pauperism.
Wage rises must equal the real rate of inflation and the CWU must draw up its own cost of living index, based on the necessities that workers cannot do without.
Flexibility and redundancies are to be negotiated locally so that the union becomes a federation of autonomous areas, each with its own local agreements, and no longer bound together by national agreements.
This will lead to the Royal Mail being able to divide and rule, imposing super-exploitation on some areas, while taking on the workers in the stronger areas, to impose redundancy on all of the trouble makers who won’t give up the fight for decent wages and conditions of service.
This tactic will allow the industry to be privatised area by area.
The last three months of struggle has revealed the two major opposites in the CWU trade union.
The major force is the membership that has battled long and hard to defeat the plans of Royal Mail. Its opposite is the union leadership that from day one has wanted to surrender to the employer.
The CWU’s combative membership has made surrender very difficult for the leaders to achieve. It has taken them months to do it, but now the dirty deed has been done.
It is now clear to all of the membership, that their played out reformist careerist leaders are good for nothing when it comes to fighting the bosses and their government.
This leadership must now be replaced as rapidly as possible by a new leadership prepared to defend the terms and conditions of service of their members and to fight for socialism.
CWU members must throw out this rotten deal, and demand the resignation of the Hayes-Ward leadership.
There must be a new leadership in the union, one that is prepared to call national indefinite strike action and to organise a public sector alliance that will call a general strike to beat the bosses and bring down the Brown bankers’ government.
The issue is that if capitalism cannot tolerate the terms and conditions of service that workers have built up, it is crisis ridden capitalism that must go, not the hard won wages and conditions of the workers.
Throw out the deal!
Sack Hayes and Ward!
Call a general strike!
Forward to socialism!