Reports from The News Line on yesterday’s rally for the postal workers which took place before the anti-war march:
‘WE SHOULD ALL COME OUT!’ – Serwotka tellls CWU rally
‘We offer our full solidarity,’ civil servants’ union PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka told a 500-strong rally of striking postal workers in central London yesterday.
Serwotka added: ‘Every member of the CWU (Communication Workers Union) deserves a decent pay rise, pension and a job.
‘We face the same as you – 140,000 job cuts, with 30,000 cuts at the DWP and charities being brought in to deal with benefits.’
He said: ‘I take my hat off to every postman and postwoman who refused to cross our picket lines, it’s time for us to return that solidarity.’
Serwotka said of the government: ‘If they are not prepared to support us we have to force them.
‘We are balloting for national strike action.’
He concluded: ‘Think of the message if 130,000 post workers, quarter of a million civil servants and 30,000 UNISON council workers took action.
‘If this government won’t settle, we’ll all have to take action if we have to.’
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes told the rally: ‘This dispute is about decent pay, people being treated with dignity and decent pensions.
‘It’s also about the future direction of our industry, about privatisation.
‘People told us we couldn’t defeat privatisation but we did.
‘But Leighton and Crozier want a privatisation agenda.’
Hayes asked: ‘Where is John Hutton, the minister in charge of the Post Office? He can’t be found.
‘If it was Northern Rock, they couldn’t get on the telly quick enough.
‘But Royal Mail is a company they own.’
Hayes said: ‘We will win this dispute because the issues are right and the solidarity is there.
‘We are at a turning point. We’re more solid than ever in terms of support.
‘We are going to win this because the government are going to have to start listening or they will pay the consequences.
‘Our message is Gordon Brown get this dispute sorted.’
CWU deputy general secretary (postal) Dave Ward said: ‘This dispute is about postal workers defending their jobs, the postal service and terms and conditions.
‘The Labour government says it shares values with the trade union movement.
‘It has been slow to show that support.
‘I don’t know how they can sit back and allow what is going on.’
NUT deputy general secretary Christine Blower said: ‘If teachers don’t get a decent pay award, we will be taking action.’
London Transport RMT rep Unjum Mirza said: ‘We offer our solidarity to this magnificent rally.
‘Our enemy is your enemy – Gordon Brown.
‘He is our problem and we need to take him on.’
TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O’Grady told the rally: ‘I bring you the solidarity of the General Council representing seven million workers.’
Labour MP John McDonnell said: ‘This dispute is about a choice between public services with decent pay and pensions and low pay and casual labour.
‘This is Gate Gourmet-type management as we have seen elsewhere.
‘The PCS have been threatened with 140,00 job cuts, 30,000 jobs are under threat at the DWP and even UNISON are balloting for industrial action.
‘People have had enough. The reason Brown is not having an election is the depth of anger across the trade union movement.
‘We’ve had enough of privatisation, pay cuts and a management that is trying to break our unions.’
He added: ‘One phone call from Brown can settle this dispute.’
Indeed, but Brown doesn’t sound like he’s up to making that call:
GORDON Brown yesterday, at his monthly press conference, condemned the striking postal workers and their union the CWU.
He called their strike action in defence of their conditions of service and pensions ‘unacceptable’ and continued to threaten to cut the financing of the Post Office and the Royal Mail if the strike action continued.
He said: ‘When we the government are investing a huge amount of money in the postal services it is not something that we can either condone or we can stand lightly by and say it is an acceptable form of behaviour. I want these people back to work. I want people to have the postal services immediately and we the government that is providing money for the post office will have to consider our position in the light of the events.’