‘CWU to strike in October!’ – Billy Hayes

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BILLY HAYES (left), CWU leader said the CWU will be taking strike action in October
BILLY HAYES (left), CWU leader said the CWU will be taking strike action in October

COMMUNICATION Workers Union (CWU) General Secretary, Billy Hayes, told his pre-Congress press conference yesterday that the CWU will be taking strike action in October.

He said: ‘The Royal Mail privatisation Bill is now an Act. The government are now talking to potential investors. . .

‘We are looking at the impact on workers’ terms and conditions. that’s what the strike ballot is about.’

He added: ‘On Tuesday in Congress our Deputy General Secretary will be moving our motion on Royal Mail privatisation.

‘We don’t think the pay and conditions on offer are enough. There’s been no movement on what Royal Mail intend to pay. We expect to give notice of a strike ballot at the end of this week. We will have to take action within 28 days of a successful ballot.

‘A strike is likely in October.’

Asked about Labour Party funding, in line with Miliband’s proposals on union relations, Hayes said: ‘We are always reviewing our position on Labour Party funding.

‘My biggest concern is state funding of political parties.

‘I am also concerned about primaries. What is the point in being in a political party when people outside the party take part in decisions.’

However, he insisted: ‘We value our link with the party. We want to strengthen it.’

Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis addressed reporters flanked by a zero-hours worker, Caroline and an NHS worker, Mary.

He said: ‘For our members austerity has been an absolute disaster.

‘We have a Labour Party who now say if you elect us we will keep on with the Tory spending limits.

‘For many of our members that would mean six years without a pay rise, and worries about how to put food on the table.’

He said: ‘Zero-hours working is “slave labour” ’ adding that many in the NHS have not had a pay rise.

In answer to questions, the Unison leader said: ‘There is so much pressure boiling up. There will be an explosion of action over pay.

‘By 2014 it will be big. If it happens sooner, so well and good.’

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Unions first raised the “great living standards squeeze” before the “crash”, and ever since then it has got worse.’

She added: ‘Pay has soared in Britain’s boardrooms, but stagnated on shop-floors.’

She went on to attack zero-hours contracts, saying: ‘Zero-hours contracts have spread into every part of the workforce.

‘Agency workers no longer just help employers with unpredictable demands but have become a way of life for some businesses, using loopholes to undercut the rate for the job.’

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: ‘We will be calling for the TUC to consider the practicalities of a General Strike.

‘We are not one of those people who stand on the street corner saying “Call a General Strike”, but there is no reason why we can’t have coordinated action.

‘If a number of unions come under attack, if TUPE doesn’t protect us any more, we may come out together.’