I’m still writing up my notes from the Connect Biennial Conference in Blackpool which I hope to turn into a full post this week.
However, I found an anonymous article in the Socialist Worker decrying the merger vote.
Socialist Worker accept comments for publication in the paper, but not on their website, so here’s the response I emailed them.
I was a delegate at the Connect Conference. I must take issue with your statement “The whole weight of the union machine was used to force this through in the debate.”
There was a fair and open question and answer session. We had a polite and orderly debate. Everyone who stood to speak for the CWU was called. We heard a wide range of opinions, discussed them and voted.
In the end there was more support from the members for Prospect. That wasn’t a “union machine” that was democracy.
You also say merger with CWU would have created “one industrial telecoms union”. 70% of CWU members work for the Post Office – how are they in any way connected to the telecoms industry?
The Post Office is in crisis – I don’t make any comment on whether it deserves to be or what should be done. But without a doubt, the massive CWU will spend the next few years fighting for its members’ rights. How can they possibly represent professional and managerial staff in the flourishing telecoms sector when concentrating on the Royal Mail pension crisis, possible privatisation, redundancies and modernisation?
The CWU is, I’m sure, a fine and noble union. But its critical lack of resources means it would be poorly placed in serving Connects members.
That is, in part, why we voted to merge with Prospect.
You can read more about the conference and the order of business etc. (Via Calvin Allen’s Connected Research)
Edit 31/07/2009 My letter has been published in issue 2160 (18th of July 2009)