Sydney postal strike: Which way forward?
We have just received and are publishing on our site, this leaflet distributed to the Sydney postal workers strike by a group of Sydney Left Communists.
Despite endless talk by politicians, economists and the media about the ‘end of the recession', workers around Australia and the world are feeling otherwise. Faced with declining profits and savage competition over markets, the bosses have one answer: make the working class pay through job-cuts, wage freezes, ‘modernisation' of working conditions (i.e. getting us to work harder for less) and massive cuts to the public services. All the ruling class politicos, both Labour and Liberal, agree on the need for these attacks, as such neither offers us any choice.
For us there can also only be one answer: resist the attacks on our living and working conditions and fight for their improvement. Around the world workers are struggling, from Egypt to Bangladesh and Britain to Greece. In Australia too: Council workers in Geelong; Smelter workers in SA; High school, TAFE Teachers and University Lectures across NSW, Queensland and Tasmania; Seafarers and Wharfies in WA; Airline engineers and baggage handlers in Sydney; Egg-grading workers at Dora Creek and most recently of all, Bus Drivers across NSW are all engaged in the same struggle.
The posties have taken the correct, albeit difficult choice to take on Australia Post and reject its pitiful offer. Thus, the most pressing current issue isn't whether or not to fight, but how to fight. Faced with a united attack by the bosses including the howling condemnation and bashing by the capitalist media machine, what is vitally necessary now is maximum unity. United we stand, divided we fall. As such all postal workers must stand together and join in united strike action: old and young, foreign and Australian-born, full-time and casual. However, it is not enough for Australia Post workers alone to stand together. To ensure victory it is necessary that we spring the trap of isolation. Most immediately this means spreading the struggle, not only uniting all postal workers but also the other sectors of the working class currently engaged in struggle around the country. When the working class stand as one and fight, the bosses will be forced to back down. This is not just some utopian fantasy, this is a concrete and immediate possibility.
In addition to this, it is also necessary that workers directly control of their own struggle. The recent strike by posties working for Royal Mail in Britain which ended earlier this month holds a vital lesson for their class brothers and
sisters in Australia. Here it was not the bosses or the scabs which ultimately defeated the strike, but the posties' union itself, the CWU, which sabotaged the struggle and sold the workers down the creek. This was the same outcome as the strikes by British posties in 2007. This defeat holds vital lessons for posties in Australia, lessons which must be learnt if we want to avoid the same terrible outcome.
Workers must be vigilant of the machinations of the CEPU and not allow it to co-opt or derail the struggle as the unions have done time and time again. Mass meetings of workers need to be the centres of debate, discussion and decision making for the struggle. Only here can workers can express themselves collectively in contrast to the undemocratic and unaccountable decision making by the union bureaucracy or secret balloting from home through workers are left isolated and atomised. Mass meetings and picket lines must also be open to all workers, including the unemployed and those from other sectors who come to show their solidarity and discuss how the struggle can be extended.
Only by drawing together as many workers as possible, from different sectors, into a common struggle, and by maintaining direct control over the struggle, against being co-opted and derailed by the union bureaucracy, can workers assure victory! The future lies in our hands!
- Left Communists of Sydney 21/12/09
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