CWU

Rewriting history on Brexit

On 13 December, CWU general secretary Dave Ward was quoted in the front page lead story of the Morning Star as saying “Labour got it wrong on Brexit. Millions of people who know the economy, the world of work and politics in general isn’t working for them saw the move to a second referendum as a betrayal and final straw.” Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey, in an article for Huffington Post, published on the same day stated “It is Labour’s slow-motion collapse into the arms of the People’s Vote movement and others who have never accepted the democratic decision of June 2016 for a...

Industrial news in brief

Although the action is yet to be announced, the next round of the university and college union (UCU) dispute appears set for the second half of February. Where strike ballots exist, they are either related to action defending the USS pension scheme, or over casualisation, pay, workloads and equalities (the “four fights”), however in most universities live ballots exist for both disputes simultaneously. A further 37 branches are currently being re-balloted, which alongside the live 98, would significantly enhance the strike’s impact, which in November and December saw thousands of UCU members...

Postal workers to strike in Bootle

Royal Mail workers in Bootle, Merseyside, will strike from 18-20 January, to protest the victimisation of a local union rep. There had previously been wildcat action at the same depot in October, when workers struck to defend a Muslim workmate against racist abuse from a manager. The strike subsequently spread to an office in Warrington after a driver from that office was suspended for refusing to cross the Bootle workers’ picket line. The strike lasted for a week, until workers were forced back to work by a court order. Since the strike, management have intensified an authoritarian workplace...

Court rejects CWU appeal

On 28 November the High Court rejected an appeal by postal workers’ union CWU against the injunction granted to prevent strikes by Royal Mail workers. A union statement said: “We have just left the High Court. Our appeal was dismissed. Six hours of evidence and they took two minutes to come to a decision. The justice system in this country is an absolute farce.” Following the rejection of the appeal, most CWU activists think the union will now move quickly to organise a new ballot for industrial action. Some postal workers are discussing an unofficial “work-to-rule” over the Christmas period –...

Postal workers still set for strike

People on the shop floor aren’t happy. Lots of people were looking forward to the strike, it was a chance to really stick it to our incompetent managers, which obviously now won’t happen as soon as we’d hoped. The conversations I’ve had have ranged from feelings of hopelessness or powerlessness — “what’s the point of balloting if the courts will stop us anyway?” — to anger with Royal Mail for going to court in the first place. Online, I’ve encountered a very small amount of people blaming the CWU union’s social media campaign (“why did they have to make those videos of offices posting ballots...

Yes to publicly-owned free broadband!

Labour’s policy on part-nationalising BT (its infrastructure arm Openreach, and a few other sections) has pushed a long-held union policy written by the left in the Communication Workers Union into the limelight. The union has in fact been pushing for the full renationalisation of BT. Even though there could have been much more of a genuine collaboration by Labour with the union, and the detail published so far does not go far enough, this policy is both radical and interesting. All over the world governments are pushing for the replacement of copper wiring in “The Last Mile” of phone...

Repeal all anti-union laws!

The High Court injunction won by Royal Mail to block strikes by postal workers in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) highlights the undemocratic nature of Britain’s anti-trade union laws, and the urgent need for the whole labour movement to renew our fight for their abolition. Royal Mail claimed that the union’s social media campaign, and its encouragement for members to bring ballot papers to work and write their votes there, breached the 1984 Trade Union Act, which requires that members be able to vote in ballots without “interference” from the union. The 1984 Act was one of a succession...

Support the postal workers!

Note: Royal Mail are seeking an injunction to stop the dispute and this will be heard in the High Court on Tuesday 12 November. A postal worker in South Yorkshire spoke to Solidarity about the Communication Workers’ Union dispute with Royal Mail: “We are all just waiting for the announcement of strike dates. We’re all excited about the prospect of going on strike. The expectation is that this will be a prolonged dispute. We’re discussing a potential programme of ongoing strikes in the run-up to Christmas. “Striking on Black Friday, 29 November, is being discussed. This is also the date of the...

Strikes at Virgin, West Midlands, South Western Railway

Rail union RMT has called strikes on Virgin Trains, West Midlands Trains, and South Western Railway (SWR). On the latter, the union has named a calendar of strikes throughout November and December, which will see walkouts on 16, 23, and 30 November, and 7, 14, 21, and 28 December. West Midlands Trains is the latest Train Operating Company to see its workers plan industrial action over the imposition of Driver Only Operation (DOO). On Virgin Trains, train managers, a grade of customer-facing train crew, on the West Coast franchise will strike on 19 November to demand the reinstatement of an...

Industrial news in brief

Postal workers are discussing the timing of potential strikes, likely aimed at disrupting “Black Friday” retail deliveries on Friday 29 November, and/or Christmas post, after the Communication Workers Union (CWU) strike ballot returned a 97% majority for action on a 76% turnout. The CWU’s Head of Communications Chris Webb, in an article for Tribune magazine discussing the successful ballot result, wrote: “Most crucial of all were our 1,250 workplace meetings. “The explosive combination of the workplace meetings being posted on social media created a competitive feeling in our membership across...

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