Re-launching our campaign in the Post Office
Branch secretaries and reps in the Post Office gathered at a national briefing today in Central London on a discussion on the future of the Post Office dispute. The day was marked as a relaunch in the CWU's campaign against job losses, pay and pension changes, Crown closures and the threat to the future and very existence of the Post Office.
The briefing was called to outline the next phase of this very complicated and difficult dispute, which has already seen several successful days of industrial action. A very strong communication strategy throughout the campaign has also helped propel the dispute into the public and political arena.
At the briefing General Secretary Dave Ward said: "This dispute has been undoubtedly the most difficult in our unions history. However, this union is not going away, we will not lie down and let the Post Office board and the government destroy this business.
"We have been winning arguments in the media and gaining public support from the action we have already taken. We must pursue a political solution and we have already held positive talks with MP's to achieve cross party support and get our arguement and proposals heard in parliament"
"We have two new mayors in Liverpool and Manchester who have already expressed an interest in working with the union to secure the Post Offices in their regions. They share our vision of working with local councillors and public groups to make the Post Office a vital 'community hub'. Our job now, in the true tradition of this union, is to continue to stand and fight.
Deputy General Secretary Postal, Terry Pullinger reminded delegates that this dispute continued to be: "a marathon and not a sprint".
"We are now entering another phase to this dispute which is heavily reliant upon our strategic initiative prowess. We need to ensure that the ongoing campaign is a combination of industrial, community and political action. None of these issues in isolation will produce the right result. Refreshing our campaign and motivating our activists and members will demand that we continue to create a number of new initiatives to raise the profile of the dispute as opposed to just relying on previous activity.
"The key point is that despite all the odds this union will not give up on our members or the concept of a national Post Office network that serves and links the social and industrial communities of this country".
Assistant Secretary, Andy Furey called on reps and members to start rallying around the 68 Crown Offices which are yet to find a franchise partner. In his address to members Andy said: "If we can get 68 effective campaigns at each of those Crown Offices, we know that we can save up to 700 of our members jobs. We must galvanise support in those areas and involve local MP's and public groups".
"I am optimistic that our message is getting across. The Post Office board has already cancelled two opinion surveys to date and that is due to the pressure we have applied. That is why we will also be pushing for a vote of no confidence in Paula Vennells and the board for their lack of strategy and vision in the business.
Andy suggested there could be more strike days in this dispute and another ballot for shorter industrial action: "This is a tipping point to defend our members all across the Post Office and we will ballot our members for further, shorter strike action. Today we must reinvigorate the campaign, engage as much as we can with our members and protect their jobs and protect the status of their Crown office".
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