DESPITE weeks of local stoppages and massive disruption to the post across the country Royal Mail management are still refusing to respond realistically to demands of the CWU, the postal workers’ union. Now they are refusing to accept unconditional third-party mediation, in the form of Acas.
The best form of negotiation is always face-to-face between the union’s officials and the employer’s representatives; and accepting Acas, the Government conciliation and arbitration service, is a major concession in itself by the union, because it implicitly accepts compromise to achieve settlement of the dispute.
But Royal Mail management want the union to call off its major regional stoppages set for the end of the week in advance of any talks. Management are clearly hoping that they can break the CWU with the army of scabs they’ve been busily recruiting this week.
So far 116 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion welcoming “the proposals put forward by the Communication Workers’ Union seeking to find a resolution to the current postal dispute, in particular their offer to explore the possibility of third party mediation; and calls on the Government to do all in its power to ensure that Royal Mail responds positively to the union’s proposal”. The postal workers have won considerable support from the public and the small business community who all want to see deliveries return to normal as soon as possible.
The CWU is fighting to defend its members pay and jobs and preserve the Royal Mail as a public service. The union’s leaders have bent over backwards to reach a settlement with management but they have been rebuffed at every turn. The union movement as a whole must close ranks behind the CWU and give the postal workers whatever support they require to bring this dispute to a speedy and successful end.
And another for MPs, or at least those bleating at new demands from the Legg Committee to disgorge more of their loot by imposing retrospective limits on past expenses claims. If media reports are to be believed some Labour MPs are threatening to sue their own party or stand down now to provoke a wave of by-election disasters if the Brown government doesn’t back off.
That’s the last thing Brown should do. No one outside the bourgeois political establishment supports the old rotten parliamentary expenses scam and even within the corridors of power there’s a realisation that it’s got to stop.
While bankers are bailed out and workers are told to tighten their belts to pay for the capitalist slump our so-called parliamentary representatives seem to think they can carry on living off the fat of the land. These worthless MPs are going to go at the next election anyway. If they go now, so much the better. Let them do their worse.
Who on earth wants Tony Blair to become the first European president under the Lisbon Treaty rules? Reactionary Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi for one but fortunately the discredited Labour leader, best known for lying to Parliament over the Iraq war, has lost the support of Franco-German imperialism. While the presidency of the European Union will still largely be symbolic, appointing Tony Blair would be an insult to the millions of Europeans and Arabs who opposed the invasion of Iraq. European pundits now think that the EU heavyweights will opt for a Dutch or Finnish politician or former Irish president Mary Robinson. Let’s hope they’re right.