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Solidarity with CWU Postal Workers

30/10/2017

CWU postal workers

It is a disgrace in a nation claiming to be “democratic” that anti-union laws permit a judge to grant an injunction stopping an otherwise lawful strike, supported overwhelmingly (89.1%) in a ballot, where 74% of the affected workers voted, far exceeding the Tories’ 50% turnout hurdle.  This is Britain today.  The CWU has made clear that its fight goes on.  The LRC offers solidarity to all CWU members in dispute with Royal Mail and asks all our supporters to do the same, starting with passing the motion below at Labour Party meetings.

SUPPORT FOR POSTAL WORKERS 

This Labour Party notes that:

  1. on 3rd October 2017 the CWU announced an 89% Yes vote, on a 74% turnout, for strike action in Royal Mail in the first national dispute since privatisation.
  2. Postal workers in Royal Mail are coming under increasing pressure to work harder and faster for less with: cuts to their pension entitlements of up to 45%; pay freezes while the cost of living continues to rise; and attempts to unpick industrial agreements that prevent Royal Mail from embracing the insecure employment models that characterise much of the postal industry today.
  3. Royal Mail is seeking to maintain a strategy of minimising costs, maximising profit and increasing shareholder return year on year and their failure to develop a diversified product portfolio and new revenue streams means that their strategy can only be achieved by attacking employment models and terms and conditions, but also via worsening the service to make their operations cheaper.

This Labour Party believes that:

  1. following an overwhelming ballot result Royal Mail should have listened to its staff and recognised the need to shift its position, instead of taking them to court to secure an injunction to delay strike action.
  2. Royal Mail should never have been privatised. Alongside the increasing pressure on staff and their terms and conditions, the public are seeing price increases, cuts to services – for instance, with delivery office closures across the country – and asset stripping with over £200m worth of property having been sold off.
  3. This is the familiar story of privatisation, with hedge funds and senior executives reaping the rewards. In just three and a half years Royal Mail has paid out over £620m in dividends to private shareholders – just under £500,000 every day – and last year alone Royal Mail’s CEO saw her pay packet increase by 23%.
  4. Royal Mail is an important public service and part of our national infrastructure that should be re-nationalised by a Labour government and brought back together with the Post Office in public ownership at the earliest opportunity.

This Labour Party therefore resolves to:

  1. contact local CWU postal branches to express support for CWU members in the current dispute.
  2. Mobilise support for future picket lines.
  3. Take a solidarity photo at this meeting to be shared on social media tagging @cwunews.
  4. Ask local Labour MPs and councillors to make clear statements in support of CWU members in Royal Mail.

 

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Some members of Withdean Branch Labour Party showing their support for CWU members in dispute with Royal Mail.

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Forward to a Labour Government

13/09/2017

Forward to a Labour Government

6.30pm Tuesday 26 September 2017

Friends’ Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF

Labour Conference 2017 fringe meeting

 

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As 2017 Labour Conference arrives in Brighton, make a date not to miss the LRC’s fringe meeting with John McDonnell MP, Laura Pidcock MP, Chris Williamson MP, Claudia Webbe (Labour NEC), Matt Wrack (FBU), Mark Serwotka (PCS), Dave Ward (CWU), Mick Whelan (ASLEF), Ian Hodson (BFAWU), Liz Davies (Labour Women Leading), Sarah Walker (ECP) and other activists.

Labour’s 2017 manifesto showed that a Corbyn-led Labour Government will represent the working class, rather than serve the privileged elite.  Labour is pledged to end austerity, fight racism, return key assets like our railways to public ownership, save others like our Fire Service and Post Offices, and rid Britain of anti-union laws.  Discuss how best to push forward now for a Labour Government implementing the democratic socialist policies in Labour’s 2017 manifesto which received popular support from voters.

Refreshments will be available when doors open at 6.15pm, with the meeting starting promptly at 6.30pm.  With so many great speakers, you will not want to be late!

Tories Out! Unite To Defeat Austerity

10/09/2017

Tories Out!  Unite our Movement To Defeat Austerity

6.30pm Tuesday 12 September 2017

Friends’ Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF

TUC Congress 2017 fringe meeting

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As 2017 TUC Congress arrives in Brighton, the LRC fringe meeting will focus on uniting the labour movement to get the Tories out and put Labour into government.  Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has stood in solidarity with countless strikers and offered the hand of friendship to as many campaigns.  Labour’s 2017 manifesto showed that a Corbyn-led Labour Government will represent the working class, rather than serve the privileged elite.  Labour is pledged to end austerity, fight racism, return key assets like our railways to public ownership, save others like our Fire Service and Post Offices, and rid Britain of anti-union laws. The LRC says: Let’s Unite our Movement to Defeat Austerity and Get the Tories Out!

Hear top speakers including: Mark Serwotka – PCS General Secretary, Matt Wrack – FBU General Secretary, Maria Exall – CWU Executive, Ronnie Draper – BFAWU General Secretary, Debbie Reay – Chair ASLEF Women’s Committee, and Laura Watson, spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes.  Brighton Kemptown’s Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle sends his apologies since a three line whip, imposed on MPs for the latest vote on Brexit, will keep him late at Westminster.

Refreshments will be available when doors open at 6.15pm, with the meeting starting at 6.30pm. With these great speakers, this is an unmissable event!

Stop Expansion at Gatwick & Heathrow

26/02/2017

 

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West Sussex residents say “no!” to airport expansion. Photo via GACC.

 

The next step in airport expansion has arrived with the Tories’ draft National Policy Statement (NPS) being put out for public consultation.  As the next step in the expansion of Heathrow Airport., the consultation asks people whether they would prefer another runway at Heathrow or Gatwick.  Despite the Government’s decision to favour Heathrow, this question had to be included or the Government risked being forced to re-issue the consultation by the courts with Gatwick included – as happened in 2003.

The LRC opposes airport expansion at both Heathrow and Gatwick.  Day in, day out, the majority of people urgently require a cheap, efficient, accessible, fully integrated public transport system.  That is the LRC’s transport priority, not airport expansion which primarily serves only the needs of the wealthy and business, while providing no answers to questions of air quality, noise pollution and climate change. 

 

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Photo via Plane Stupid

 

The draft NPS recognises that the worse environmental impact of expanding Heathrow (compared to Gatwick) is outweighed by greater economic benefits.  The Tories seem to have simply swallowed arguments made by Gatwick management on limited damage to the Sussex environment.  The working class communities around both airports will be hit worst by the environmental impact and feel least economic benefits.  Now MPs have said that the Tories are watering down environmental commitments too far causing airport expansion to breach climate change limits and damage other parts of Britain’s economy

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Locally, Sussex LRC shares the concerns of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) that during the NPS consultation process thousands of people around Heathrow may be encouraged to ‘vote for Gatwick’ by the campaigns of the London councils and the Mayor of London, as well as the high profile lobbying and advertising campaign being run by Gatwick Airport itself.  The consultation asks people whether they would prefer the Heathrow runway or a Gatwick runway.  This is a classic example of divide and rule.  We should be united in opposing any airport expansion at both Gatwick and Heathrow.

Please respond to the NPS consultation before it closes on 25 May, emphasising the environmental disadvantages of Gatwick expansion and exposing the inaccuracies in the pro-Gatwick case.  Sussex needs to show strong opposition to expansion at Gatwick, without abandoning our friends at Heathrow.  It is not for us to campaign in favour of a new Heathrow runway. 

Find out much more about these and other issues connected with Gatwick Airport via the GACC website and more generally from campaigners Plane Stupid.

 

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Clear message from campaigners to MPs. Photo via Plane Stupid.

 

Support the Southern Strike

09/01/2017

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ASLEF picket line outside Brighton station, 16 December 2016

 

“I am not striking for more money, not for shorter hours, and not for better terms and conditions. I’m going on strike – along with my colleagues, who are all members of Aslef, the train drivers’ union – to protect the safety of our passengers.”  A Southern train driver explains why ASLEF members are striking.  The UK has one of the safest railways, which is why people have become a bit blasé about danger on the railway.  But our safe railway and good safety culture are being compromised by driver-only operation, all for the sake of private profit.  ASLEF explains the pressures of driving a train and the risks to passengers if drivers work alone.

Please show solidarity with ASLEF members at picket lines outside stations when Southern train drivers strike again on 10, 11, 13, 24, 25 and 27 January 2017 and support any future actions by both ASLEF and the RMT against driver-only operation. The LRC has stood many times with Southern guards who have been striking in defence of rail safety and to protect equality of access to train services since early 2016.  We fully support the RMT’s campaign the Keep the Guard on the Train.

 

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RMT picket line outside Brighton station, 21 June 2016

 

We have all heard about Southern management’s bullying and blackmail tactics, as well as its infamous spin machine which tries to blame rail workers for the rail privateer’s failings.  A favourite management excuse is cancelling trains for lack of crew, when drivers and guards are waiting to work.  All rail workers deserve our support in these disputes.  Lobby your MP demanding that the Government remove the Southern franchise from failed private train operator GTR and take it back under Department for Transport management by directly operated trains. 

 

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Rail workers and unions stand united together, putting people before profit

 

In the short term handing the franchise to Transport for London could bring some improvements but, ultimately, the UK’s railways must be returned to public ownership to be run in the interests of people and environment, and not for the short term goals of private profit, shareholders’ dividends and management bonuses.  Thankfully Labour’s Leader Jeremy Corbyn is committed to a People’s Railway policy.  So we can be sure that, with Jeremy at the helm, the next Labour Government will carry out the Party’s longstanding and popular policy to rebuild Britain’s rail network by returning it to public ownership, as part of a policy to transform public transport into an integrated, green, efficient and affordable system.

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Learn About Labour

27/11/2016
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Afternoon session: 1.30pm – 3.30pm – register here

Sunday 4 December 2016

Community Base (South Wing door), 113 Queen’s Road, Brighton BN1 3XG

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LRC members, friends from the English Collective of Prostitutes and other Corbyn supporters celebrate the election of Jeremy Corbyn outside Labour’s Special Conference on 12 September 2015

With Jeremy Corbyn re-elected as Labour Leader, Sussex LRC and friends want to encourage Labour members and supporters to get more involved in their Party. We’re holding participatory workshops designed for all socialists who want to learn more about Labour and how the Party works. Our aim is to demystify Labour’s structures from branches to the NEC, and help people feel confident joining-in or leading Labour activities, whether that’s speaking at a meeting, proposing a motion, leafleting, running a street stall, going canvassing, standing for election (perhaps as an officer, conference delegate, or councillor), or whatever you want to do.

These workshops are aimed at new members and members returning after many years, but you’re also welcome to contact us if you’re thinking of joining Labour, or are a long-term member with questions about the Party.  The same content will be covered in each session.

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The first session will focus on Brighton & Hove branches and constituencies. It is open to people outside Brighton & Hove, but future sessions are being planned with local groups across Sussex which may be more convenient.

Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Labour Leader is a victory for socialist politics. The LRC wants to see a Corbyn-led Labour government committed to transformative policies. To achieve this goal the LRC appeals to everyone who has been inspired by Jeremy to join (or return to) Labour, to now get active and involved in the Labour Party and their unions, in order to win the battle of ideas.

In Corbyn and McDonnell, the Labour Party has leaders with the collective will to implement democratic socialist policies in government. Now Labour’s leaders need to be supported by members informed and empowered to run campaigns and meetings which will inspire voters to support Labour.

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If you want to change the Labour Party, you have to change its rules. Sussex LRC aims to help members learn about Labour’s rules and how they operate, so that together we can make Labour a truly democratic party, where policy is determined from members-up by a democratic conference.

The workshops are free but donations to cover venue hire and other costs will be welcome.

NOTE: Entry to Community Base is via the South Wing door. The workshop is being held in the 5th floor conference room, which can be accessed via the lift or stairs.

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Solidarity with Southern Guards

06/10/2016
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Come along to support RMT members striking to protect your safety:

Saturday 8 October – The Martletts, Crawley town Centre

7-10am, Monday 10 October – Hastings railway station & onto Bexhill

7-10am, Monday 17 October – Hastings railway station & onto Rye

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Leafleters and all supporters will be appreciated by  RMT members who normally work as guards on Southern Rail.  They have our full support for their ongoing strike action, being taken in defence of everyone’s safety on our railway.

Everybody should ask why Southern Rail management refused to settle this dispute by rejecting a new package offered by RMT, having previously also refused the same terms agreed between ScotRail and RMT.  Walking away from talks aimed at averting further strikes shows Southern Rail management has no concern for the massive disruption being caused to the travelling public, which has led to the company being dubbed #SouthernFail.

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The failing rail privateer was forced to withdraw its media campaign against staff but it remains impervious to public opinion that wants to “keep the guard on the train” for people’s safety and security, and has issued an ultimatum to staff accompanied by what some describe as a bribe and threats.

The “amazing” guard who kept passengers calm and safe during a recent derailment is just one example why guards on trains are simply essential.  Please do everything you can to support Southern guards taking action to protect your safety.  Ultimately, the best thing for that will be returning Britain’s railways to public ownership and re-unifying the network.  Hopefully the judicial review being funded by grassroots commuters to examine the Tory Government’s inaction over Southern Rail’s numerous failings and franchise breaches will result in the first steps toward that.

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