Thursday, 22 October 2009

Wanted: a warm Geordie welcome for Peter Mandelson

Protest at Mandelson and Miliband
Friday 23 October, 6-7pm
Bring the troops home - Jobs not Bombs - Money for public services not war
Harton Technology College, South Shields, Tyneside

At the same time as the anti-war movement gears up for a major national demo on Saturday, postal workers are taking two days of nationwide strike action. 42,000 workers are striking today, while the other 78,000 take action tomorrow. Although there were worries that CWU union leaders would compromise, it's been confirmed the strikes are going ahead. This follows a series of local strikes in recent weeks and mounting pressure from rank and file activists for a national strike.

The strike is politically, not just industrially, significant in at least three big ways. Firstly, it serves as a focus for the wider struggle to defend public services, for the myriad anti-privatisation campaigns. The strike is in part a defence of proper public service at a time when the public sector ethos is being eroded by Labour Government and Tory opposition alike.

Secondly, it raises the question of who pays for the system's crisis: bosses or workers? The strikes answer that question by affirming that workers have already given too much, and government should intervene to force the bosses to preserve jobs and conditions. Thirdly, the failure of a Labour Governement to respond to trade unionists' needs is prompting political discussion about the relationship between the unions and the Labour Party. There is a powerful mood in the CWU for radically rethinking the role it plays in the political sphere.

In Tyneside there's a great opportunity, tomorrow evening, to pull together the different issues. Stop the War has organised a protest at Peter Mandelson's visit to South Shields, when he gives the David Miliband Annual Lecture (named after the Shields MP and Foreign Secretary, who will also be in attendance). The Keep Metro Public campaign and post strike supporters are now getting on board and joining the protest - Mandelson is of course the senior Cabinet minister responsible for Royal Mail, and an arch-privatiser committed utterly to the 'modernising' agenda.

Join the protest - for more info see HERE.

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