Joseph Healy leafletting
A CWU banner
On Friday I went to the rally organised by the CWU, Communication Workers Union re the postal strike that day and handed out leaflets outside the rally at Westminster Hall for the Green Party Trade Union Group. I had a chat with one of the national officers of the CWU, who is involved in publishing their magazine about the current political situation. He was of the view that it was still too early to write Labour off in the general election.
I decided to attend the rally, so together with hundreds of postal workers and a handful of journalists I listened to the various speakers. First came an Executive member of the RMT who sent fraternal greetings and made the point that the unions can only be effective by standing together and that the London Underground was also going through a period of industrial action. He gave his union's full support to the CWU.
Then the Regional Secretary of the CWU in London spoke about the deliberate attempts by Royal Mail management to smash the union and their attempts to introduce ever more "casualisation". He warned that if the union lost this struggle that the jobs of thousands of postal workers would be on the line. But the biggest response came when he promised that the London region would be starting balloting for disaffiliation from the Labour Party within the next few weeks. This produced rapturous applause and one postal worker beside me shouted out "two years too late mate!". There was clearly a real feeling of anger and disillusionment with the Labour government.
Kate Hoey MP, who is sponsored by the CWU, was also on the platform. She welcomed the decision of the London region to hold the ballot and said that there was no point in the union paying Labour a big fat cheque every year and receiving nothing in return. She attacked the appoointment of an unelected European bureaucrat (Peter Mandelson) to run the government's policies on Royal Mail and she said that it would be a shame if the Labour government only left behind the ruination of one of the country's best public services as its memorial. She went on to say that she was ashamed of the Labour government. Well, all of this is true, but it begs the question - why stay with the Labour Party? The trade unions must realise that they are being sold down the line by Labour. The Green Party is committed to abolishing the anti-trade union laws and keeping the Post Office public. I await with interest the result of the CWU ballot.
Posted by Joseph at Sunday, July 19, 2009