The Way forward for Postal Workers

PSN was established as a small loose network of CWU postal members, mostly reps and ex-reps calling for a no vote. We are continuing as Postal Workers Say No to keep coordinating and organising in defence of our livelihoods and the public service, and for rank and file control of our union.

 

Postal Workers Say No

We are not a genuine rank and file network much less movement yet, but aim to build for one. We say to all those who disagree with the union’s current direction of givebacks and collaboration and want to actively oppose it, to get involved, whether you voted yes or no. Many who voted yes will support those aims and we need to look forward not back.

Voting yes did not mean support for the agreement much less the leadership. Many could see no alternative because the Ward leadership would not lead a struggle, as shown by their failure to stand up to Royal Mail for months of revisions up to the ballot itself and after.
This is a defeat for our dispute that began in 2022 and will be hard to recover from, but we have no choice. Without CWU leaders telling workers to hold back to keep the national ballot safe, their excuse to refuse rule 13 ballots up to now, workers might see it as a green light to take action, sometimes unofficially.

Royal Mail’s shopfloor offensive will continue. Even if it pulls back on revisions this will be minimal, they will try to fill the gap with performance management (using data for coaching and conduct). New changes and cuts will be pushed into workplaces by trials and joint working groups. Meanwhile they will recruit new starters on the worse contracts. Management may decide to start imposing major change without agreement even before 2025.
We will

  • Support all positive efforts by the union leaders eg organising drives to rebuild membership, but oppose them whenever they fail to defend workers interests or move against them.
  • Expose backsliding from the deal or new attacks being cooked up or imposed with CWU inaction or collaboration.
  • Continue to oppose the two-tier workforce, below-inflation pay deals and any cuts to our terms and conditions, and office closures; CSP’s should be expanded not closed.
  • demand that CWU policy on renationalisation is actively pursued, opposing cuts to the USO.
  • Resist cuts, attacks and victimisations and build solidarity with offices and workers who do so.
  • Build at the shopfloor level and local level (reps meetings, branch meetings) and get militants to join, coordinating with model motions on key issues, circulating these for support and putting them to branches.
  • Agitate among members on the need to for a fighting policy as we approach 2025, learning the lessons of the 2022 strike with its dripfed action, and demand a real strike hardship fund is built now.
  • Support other workers in strike, particularly in the delivery sector here and abroad, recognising that solidarity and coordination increase our strength.
  • Call for the CWU join with other unions to coordinate an organising drive of the delivery sector, putting a floor under wages and conditions, and oppose all the anti-union laws.
  • Educate members in our approach, that unions should be organised so “members decide, officials provide”. Mass meetings and strike committees in the workplace and across the locality should control strikes and negotiations. It’s us who lose pay, take the risks, face victimisation and ultimately have to work the deal. We need to de-bureaucratise and democratise the union.
  • Work with others to build an alternative leadership, arguing for all officials on a workers wage not £100K plus salaries, for accountability and crucially recallability so leaders can be removed when they fail without waiting for the next election.

New wannabe leaders, including from the left, always make promises to catch votes. We can critically support opposition candidates that gain members’ support by promising a more fighting policy (even if they called for a yes vote). But we should keep our independence, raise our criticisms openly put for members to see, and place demands on them about what we think needs doing.

We will have allies in many areas, and reform groupings will emerge in the union and seek to capture positions in it. But without rank and file organising, based on seeing the shopfloor and workers as the fundamental source of our strength, this will not succeed. Oppositional militants, as Dave Ward once was, will remain unaccountable once elected and move to the right, as has happened to many “broad left” groupings in the unions. We need to dissolve the union bureaucracy and transform the relationship between members and officials, not just elect new left leaders, even genuine ones.

Our aim is to organise the opposition to the current direction of the Ward leadership into a rank and file network to rebuild at the shopfloor, organise the militant minority of the union into a movement that can win the majority to its ideas, transform the CWU and build a new, accountable, fighting leadership.

If you are a CWU member, agree and want to help organise then get in touch: rankandfilepostalworker@gmail.com


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