Postal workers fight for an activist union

July 4, 2023
The national decline in postal workers 2003–2023. Image: CWU Victoria Branch Election 2023/Facebook

An activist team is challenging for positions in the Communications Workers Union (CWU). The rank-and-file group, “Union Strong, Union Active”, is contesting all senior positions, including for president.

CWU organiser Anthony Veal told Green Left Radio how the leadership had failed to take up the fight over pay and conditions to management. During COVID-19, postal workers were made to double their delivery rounds each day from one to two and 50% of all workers were laid off.

In addition, postal workers were not asked to participate in decision over a new Memorandum of Understanding, that drastically altered conditions for the worse outside of their enterprise agreement.

Veal explained how the group’s push for more union activism came from the informal group “Pissed Off Posties Get United Now”.

“Members would ring me up and say ‘I’ve been in the union for 25 years and I’ve just resigned because I felt there’s no benefit for me’. It’s really breaking my heart and I really wanted to bring it back to what it was supposed to be.”

The activist ticket has faced difficulties because it doesn’t have the leadership’s connections and resources.

“If you’re not organised, you’re a rabble. You’re on your own and you’re easily picked out. You’re led in the wrong direction. It’s organise, organise, organise!” Veal emphasised.

[The ballot ended on June 30. The results will be posted here. Find out more information here.

Addendum: The Union Strong, Union Active team received approximately one third of the vote but did not win any leadership positions. The team has now become an incorporated association, as “Union Active INC”. It plans to fight on with the next campaign focussed on securing a good enterprise agreement.

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