Tuesday 17 December 2019

St Andrews Day Anti-Racism/Anti-Fascism Rally 2019

Over the next few days, we are sharing speeches and messages from the Aberdeen's St Andrews Day rally. Today, Mel Poole from CWU...

My name is Mel Poole and for those that don't know me I am the Political officer for the Grampian and Shetland branch of the CWU. I would like to thank the ATUC for inviting me to speak today and to all the delegates from every union they represent. 

Before I start I would like to extend our branches support and admiration for the UCU in the action they are taking against their employer. We in the CWU stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with our comrades in the UCU. 

This St Andrews day march has the theme of anti-racism and anti-facism at its core. Both very important issues that are still unfortunately prevalent in 2019. It doesn't help when we have a government that's racist to its core from Johnson's 'watermelon smile' comment, Patel's immigration stance, and the rampant institutionalised Islamophobia in the Tory party. Rhetoric like this from people in high office only serves to embolden racists and fascists, from openly marching in our streets, to the torrents of abuse people receive online. 

It needs to stop!!! Wherever racism is encountered it needs to be called out !!! Direct action must be taken!!! The results of direct action was shown recently at the Royal Mail Delivery office in Bootle Liverpool. A manager made an alleged racist comment to one of our CWU members. Immediately the guys in that office went out on unofficial strike for seven days in support of their colleague, only going back when Royal Mail threatened legal action. This is the kind of thing the CWU is famous for. We won't stand for racism, sexism, bullying, harassment or any other form of discrimination. It's knowing what is right from what is wrong. The diversity in our union makes us stronger. Us posties are a community. 

I'm going to speak about our dispute breifly. This sense of community and togetherness was recently shown in our ballot for industrial action where 97% of members voted overwhelmingly to withdraw their labour from Royal Mail. This historic result was achieved by grassroots organising, and utilising all social media platforms inventively. The crux of our dispute is that Royal Mail will not honour a 5 year agreement that is only 2 years old and want to break up our company with the possible loss of over 20,000 jobs. They have already started with Parcelforce worldwide. 

We don't want industrial action, we don't want to lose money, we don't want this fight. But we have had enough, enough of the bullying culture that's much too prevalent in Royal Mail. Enough of the Royal Mail board and managements lack of honour and principle. Enough of corporate greed grasping for every last penny from working class sweat and toil. The rich, the powerful, the elite, think they can get away with everything. Well my union showed them. We stood up, we said enough is enough. We took the establishment on. But the establishment closed ranks and bashed the workers some more, ruling our ballot was illegal, on what I can only call the flimsiest of evidence. So one establishment judge has decided the will of 81,000 CWU members was unlawful. The CWU appealed this decision on Thursday and after 6 hours of legal argument it took 2 minutes - 2 minutes! - to uphold the decision of the previous hearing. Make of this what you will. 

So what now? I will tell you what. We go again, we rise up again. We are not going away, we are not going anywhere. The odds might be stacked against the CWU but we can stand proud. We count!! We all count and following the CWUs lead, together and as a community this is how we should all deal with all forms of racism, fascism or oppression. We all organise, we all Take them on, we all call it
out and we all never stop. The fight will be won and we will win it. Everyone of us . We are all a community. Support your postal workers, support the CWU and support each other!