what is the london postal strike really about?

Sheila Cohen (NUJ) interviews a London Divisional Rep and a workplace rep from North London to find out. Overall, the situation appears to be that top Royal Mail management are determined to follow a “New Labour” agenda of targets and savings on the backs of postal workers – however little sense that makes.

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Workplace activists are equally determined to resist the intolerable impact on their members’ incomes and working lives. In some ways, it’s an irreconcilable impasse between the logic of neo-liberal capitalism and the reality of an industry which can only rationally be run as a public service. As our Divisional Rep puts it, “There’s a War Going On” – and as the workplace rep comments ruefully on the 2007 strike, “We had Royal Mail, and we let it go”.

(Download PDF of this interview in pamphlet form: To order online for 50p + 50p postage,  ‘donate’ the money here, making sure to specify in the text box what you are ordering) Continue reading “what is the london postal strike really about?”

no postal peace without an all-out strike

by Gregor Gall

Have you noticed your post isn’t arriving as regularly as it usually does? Have you noticed there are many days when you expected to get post but didn’t get a thing?

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For a strike involving tens of thousands of workers and affecting millions of householders and businesses, debate about the current postal dispute is worryingly absent from the political arena. Neither Royal Mail nor the government is keen to say anything, whether good, bad or indifferent, about it. There is a wall of almost impenetrable silence. Indeed, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has accused the government of “going on strike” by refusing to do or say anything. The reason, the CWU alleges, is that the government is still smarting from having lost its battle to partially privatise Royal Mail earlier this year after a union-led rebellion. Continue reading “no postal peace without an all-out strike”

london cwu members to vote on labour party affiliation

by Jack Staunton

Thousands of members of the London region of the Communications Workers’ Union are to vote in an ‘indicative ballot’ over affiliation to the Labour Party. The vote comes not only during a round of post strikes as the government makes sharp cuts in Royal Mail, but also at a time when Gordon Brown’s party are increasingly dependent on union funding.

The CWU has furthermore tabled a motion on political representation at this week’s Trades Union Congress in Liverpool; however, such resolutions, and indeed the current ‘indicative ballot’ are non-binding and most of the union leadership have only demanded a few crumbs from Labour in exchange for their millions of pounds of backing. Previous threats against the Labour leadership have rarely been backed up. Continue reading “london cwu members to vote on labour party affiliation”

the commune issue 7 – out now!

The September issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF, or see articles as they are posted online in the list below.

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact uncaptiveminds@gmail.com.

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troops out of afghanistan! – editorial of The Commune

wildcats show how to fight royal mail bosses – by Paul Haste

government pressure on civil service: crunch time for pcs left – by Steve Ryan

wind turbine occupation ends, but struggle continues – by Gerry Emmett

purnell’s new ‘old labour’ is just new ‘new labour’ – by David Broder

resisting redundancy and recession: reappraising the tactic of occupation – by Gregor Gall

amey struggle: burn your bridges, save your dignity – by Mónica del Pilar Uribe Marin

latin american migrants: organising against racism and exploitation – by an Ecuadorian migrant worker

exposed: soas unison, rmt and unite cleaner activists in the pay of the bosses – by Chris Kane

update on the activities of the commune around britain

afghan women bear brunt of hypocritical ‘war on terror’ – by members of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan

yes, chris ann, obama is punking us – by Ernie Haberkern

beyond props for capital – by Allan Armstrong

liberalism, citizenship and democracy – by Mark Ellingsen

the workers’ self-management alternative – by Chris Kane

review of the july/august left press – by Nathan Coombs

building from below: the case for working in residents’ groups – by Dave Spencer

latin america’s future is being played out in honduras – by Roberto Sáenz

wildcats show how to fight royal mail bosses

by Paul Haste

Postal workers continue to fightback with wildcat strikes against Royal Mail bosses’ attempts to bully staff and slash jobs, but the CWU union continues to stand back from leading the kind of coordinated national action that can win this dispute.

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Royal Mail managers are on the rampage, tearing up contracts, sacking union reps and preparing the ground for massive job losses, but the CWU, instead of using the weeks before the September ballot on national industrial action to win the biggest vote possible in favour of a strike, insists on imploring bosses to get back to the negotiating table. Continue reading “wildcats show how to fight royal mail bosses”

the truth about the postal strikes

A message distributed to supporters of the ongoing postal strikes.

There has been a lot of misinformation put about by management about the current strikes. They say it is about local issues that other areas have already signed off on – flexibility, or georoutes – so you don’t need to strike, its just London being bolshy.

They claim that the union is lying, that they are talking to the union and nobody will be forced to go part time. And of course they are laying it on thick with the blackmail that if we strike it will hurt the business, customers will leave and our jobs could suffer. All of this is just spin. Here’s the facts: Continue reading “the truth about the postal strikes”

the commune issue 6 out now!

The sixth issue of The Commune (July 2009) is now available

The paper is published online, but you can order a printed copy or multiple papers to sell (£1 + postage for one copy, or £4 per 5 issues) by emailing uncaptiveminds@gmail.com

Click the image to see PDF, or see articles as they are posted online below.

thecommune6

editorial – migrants are at the heart of our fightback

Adam Ford reports on the Linamar fight and the state of the car industry

Joe Thorne looks at resistance to primary school cuts in London and Glasgow

Dave Spencer argues that the left has much to learn from the local work of the Northampton Save Our Services campaign

Jack Staunton writes on call centre workers’ organising initiatives

Chris Kane counters the argument that we ought to go back to the Labour Party, and stresses that communists need to organise

Kofi Kyerewaa explains the flaws of calling for the banning of the BNP

Activists participating in the occupation to protest the SOAS immigration raid draw a balance-sheet of the struggle

The story of the victimisation and planned deportation of a Chilean woman who dared to stand up to her employer Fitness First

Alice Robson reports on the campaign against cuts in English classes in Tower Hamlets

Kieran Hunter examines the hostile media and public response to June’s strike on the London Underground

David Broder looks at reactions to the mass movement in Iran against the re-election of Ahmedinejad

Alberto Durango explains how Unite have abandoned cleaner organising

Gregor Gall looks at the victory of the Lindsey oil refinery strikers and its implications for the industry

Joe Thorne looks at resistance to primary
school cuts in London and Glasgow
Dave Spencer argues that the left has much
to learn from the local work of the Northampton
Save Our Services campaign
Jack Staunton writes on call centre workers’
organising initiatives
page 3
Chris Kane counters the argument that we
ought to go back to the Labour Party, and
stresses that communists need to organise
Kofi Kyerewaa explains the flaws of calling
for the banning of the BNP
page 4
Activists participating in the occupation to
protest the SOAS immigration raid draw a
balance-sheet of the struggle
page 5
The story of the victimisation and planned
deportation of a Chilean woman who dared
to stand up to her employer Fitness First
Alice Robson reports on the campaign
against cuts in English classes in Tower
Hamlets
page 6
Kieran Hunter examines the hostile media
and public response to June’s strike on the
London Underground
page 7
Alberto Durango explains how Unite have
abandoned cleaner organising
page 8
Gregor Gall looks at the victory of the
Lindsey oil refinery strikers and its implications
for the industry

report of london call centre workers’ meeting

by Jack Staunton

On Saturday evening two dozen call centre workers from around London attended a meeting to discuss how we can best organise together. Although in the UK there are now some 750,000 people working in various types of call centre (such as sales, service calls and market research), very few are unionised. Employment is often very precarious, and the high turnover of staff in many workplaces means it can be difficult to organise, even though semi-casual work on low pay, along with management behaviour and petty rules, give plenty of reasons for us to do so.

The meeting took place as an extension of the AGM of the CWU branch at the Pell and Bales charity call centre in Old Street. Workers from another Pell and Bales site, as well as CCA International (sales), IFF (market research) and Listen (charity fundraising) attended to share experiences of standing up to zealous managers and recruiting people to the union, as well as to plan ahead to co-ordinate our organising initiatives. Continue reading “report of london call centre workers’ meeting”