Coventry postal worker responds to closure of Royal Mail pension scheme

Coventry postal worker responds to closure of Royal Mail pension scheme

Striking postal workers in Coventry

Royal Mail have announced plans to close the current Defined Benefit pension scheme in March 2018. The following response was written by a postal worker and Communication Workers Union (CWU) member in Coventry.

Their plan is to put members into an inferior alternative, with no certainty of what members would earn – workers could lose up to a third of their future pensions.
The consultation with the CWU and postal workers have been swept aside as Royal Mail seems determined to undermine terms and conditions, pay and pensions since privatisation in October 2013.

The CWU have rightly spoken out condemning the possible imposition of these pension changes without agreement, but words need to be turned into action very quickly or postal workers like me will stand to face a future of poverty in retirement.

Royal Mail claim they cannot afford to keep paying the current pension, even though it has found £650m to pay shareholders dividends over the last three years.

For workers like me, retirement is fast becoming an elusive dream as the Tory government move the retirement age higher and higher. What chance have I got to live out the rest of my years with some kind of comfort if the government and my employer ‘robs’ the very pension I have worked for?

Royal Mail have not listened to the thousands who voiced their concerns during the consultation and so the CWU need to gather the workforce behind an all-out battle to defend our rights for a decent pension.

It is pretty clear that Royal Mail have no intention of changing their objective of rewarding shareholders while punishing the workforce, so only a clear call to strike action is the only course of action that will get Royal Mail to change course.

Working class families have been paying the price since the banking crisis of 2007/08 and we are all living with the effects of cuts to services every day.

The need for co-ordinated action across all unions against the attack on our pensions and pay is stronger than ever – we have had enough of seeing the top 1% getting richer from hammering us into the ground.

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Trump orders missile strikes on Syria

Trump orders missile strikes on Syria

Ordinary people across the world have watched the events in Syria unfold with horror, particularly the recent escalation of chemical weapons used against civilians and the response of missile strikes from Trump’s US. We are republishing the below article by Niall Mulholland of the Committee for a Workers’ International on the ongoing situation. 

US President Donald Trump’s decision to launch missile attacks against the Shayrat air base, in Syria, ratcheted up the long running conflict in Syria and dangerously fuelled tensions between the US and Russia and Iran, and also with North Korea and China. It will also significantly increase rivalries between Sunni and Shia-based regimes in the Middle East.

Trump claimed that the tomahawk missiles attack was ordered “on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched”, referring to Khan Sheikhun, where over 70 people died earlier this week.

The appalling death of scores of civilians, including children, quite rightly led to revulsion and condemnation from working class people around the world. However the US, supported by other Western powers, cynically seized upon the terrible incident to try to strengthen their position in the Syrian conflict. The Western powers, which want to see the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, were quick to rush to blame the Syrian regime for the deaths. The unstable Trump administration is also using the missile attack as a way to try to boost its domestic support and to divert attention from the failure to meet Trump’s election promises and provide any solutions to the lives of Americans.

In the absence of an investigation into the reasons for the chemical deaths and without seeking a UN mandate, or even a mandate from the US Congress, Trump ordered the missile attacks against Syria. The US attacks were welcomed by European governments, including the UK, Germany and France, as well as Turkey and Israel. The opposition Islamist Ahrar al-Sham militia in Syria welcomed US “surgical strikes.”

Assad will use the US attacks to try to bolster his anti-imperialist credentials at home. But socialists give no support, whatsoever, to the Assad regime, which has shown no concern for the lives of innocent civilians during Syrian’s long and bloody civil war. Assad is a brutal dictator prepared to use ruthless means to stay in power. However, as of yet, there is no hard evidence to say that the Assad regime was responsible for the death of civilians from chemicals. Given that Assad, with crucial help from Putin, is winning the war, it appears counterproductive from his point of view to launch an indiscriminate chemical attack, fully aware that it would a pretext for a possible US-led military attack.

Moscow insisted that the Syrian air force hit a depot of chemical weapons produced by rebels fighting government forces. Günther Meyer, director of the Research Center for the Arab World at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, goes further: “Only armed opposition groups could profit from an attack with chemical weapons. With their backs against the wall, they have next to no chance of opposing the regime militarily. As President Trump’s recent statements show, such actions make it possible for anti-Assad groups to receive further support.” (Quoted by the German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (6/4/17)).

Counter-revolution

At this stage, the only certainty about this week’s terrible scenes in Khan Sheikhun is that it killed scores of civilians, on top of the hundreds of thousands of other war-related deaths. This is fundamentally a result of the counter revolution that unfolded in Syria following a genuine mass revolt against the rule of Assad in 2011, inspired by revolutionary movements in Tunisia and Egypt. But in the absence of strong united working class organisations and a socialist leadership, sectarian and Islamic forces were able to step into the vacuum, aided by reactionary Gulf States and Turkey and by western powers, leading to the degeneration of the mass revolt into a vicious multi-faceted civil war.

It is unclear whether the US air strikes are a show of strength and limited action or if they presage a broader military intervention in Syria. The Shayrat airbase is an important staging post for Syrian and Russian military operations against the largely Islamic armed opposition and the US attacks will be blow.

Russia condemned the US air strikes as an “act of aggression” and a “violation of international law” and suspended its channel for communicating military action in Syria with Washington, used to prevent accidental conflict.

These developments leave open the possibility of direct clashes between US-led and Russia military forces in Syria, with far-reaching consequences in the region and internationally.

Iran, which has militias fighting alongside Assad’s troops, also strongly condemned US actions. Adding to the dangerous complications on the ground, Iranian forces are also in Iraq, nominally fighting alongside the US-backed Baghdad regime’s troops against ISIS.

Trump appeared to order the air attacks while in talks with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, on his visit to the US, which will only serve increase tensions with the Beijing regime. Earlier this week, Trump indicated he was prepared to take “unilateral” military action against North Korea and has also made threatening remarks over Chinese military “island-building” in the South China Sea. According to the Financial Times (London, 07/04/17), “Liu Binjie, who sits on the standing committee that oversees China’s parliament, warned against unilateral action on North Korea. ‘The entire state is militarised,’ he said. ‘If you threaten them with force, it may backfire on you.'”

As the CWI warned, the advent of Trump’s administration marks a shift to more dangerous and unpredictable world relations. In this situation, the working class and youth of the Middle East, the US and all over the world need a mass anti-war movement and the development of powerful working class parties, with bold socialist policies, to counter the war, terror and poverty of capitalism and imperialism.

  • Stop Trump’s attacks on Syria – Oppose all outside powers’ interference in the region
  • End war and terror in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East
  • No to racism and scapegoating of immigrants and refugees
  • For workers’ unity and socialism

 

Why I joined: “I joined the Socialist Party to campaign to save the NHS”



Why I joined: “I joined the Socialist Party to campaign to save the NHS”

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Socialist Party members are active across the country campaigning to defend the NHS

We are pleased to publish this short article by Walter, a new member of the Socialist Party in Coventry. The piece originated from the current issue of The Socialist, the weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party. We encourage people to consider joining our organisation – fill in the form at the end of the article and we will get in touch!


I was first attracted to the Socialist Party by the ongoing campaign to save the NHS. In my opinion the Socialist Party is the only party currently mounting an ongoing campaign to prevent the NHS from being privatised.

The idea of NHS privatisation is not a far-removed idea, but one that is gradually becoming a reality. I recently had to visit a Coventry walk-in centre, due to the fact that I was unable to secure an appointment at my local GP practice.

While completing the necessary paperwork at the walk-in centre, in very small print, obscurely at the bottom of the form, it became apparent the facility was being managed by a private provider.

I am passionate about the NHS and do not want to see it privatised. I want to make a difference and my route to this is with the Socialist Party.

We all have a choice between watching and doing, between moaning and complaining or doing something about it. My doing something about it has been to join the Socialist Party.

Agree with Walter? Fill in the form below!