Unions: London's Not Waiting

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As we go to press, London postal workers look set to go on all-out strike in response to management attacks on CWU reps.

Management has tried to go on the offensive, suspending workers for refusing to carry out duties not in their job description and threatening to derecognise the union.

Workers are increasingly bitter about attacks on pay and conditions, and the cost of living in London. The Unison/CWU one-day strike over London weighting marked a comeback after the loss of the CWU national strike ballot. Now the rank and file is taking the lead.

In the post, the London divisional committee has led a serious campaign, calling an unofficial ballot, and producing pamphlets, leaflets and stickers. The rank and file paper Post Worker - now selling 3,000 copies in London alone - has played a key role in agitating on the ground, building a network of activists around it.

There is an ongoing process of politicisation among workers. The firefighters' strike and a series of defeats for the 'awkward squad' have deepened the questions raised by taking action. The rank and file has begun to provide answers in Oxford, Wolverhampton and London.

Following the success of last month's London weighting strike, Unison has called two further strike days in December. After two derailments on the tube in as many days, the RMT is balloting for action on London Underground.

At the CWU London strike rally deputy general secretary Dave Ward received an enthusiastic response when he said that New Labour is worth about 'a fiver' of the CWU's money. The political fund has become a key question in the unions. The importance of action taken by post workers, Unison members or tube workers is that behind their own management stands the government.