Young Workers take to the streets to Save Our Post OfficePostal, Young Workers October 14 2018
An impromptu CWU protest and leafleting session in the centre of Peterborough meant shoppers, workers and passers-by were left in no doubt that the union was in the city for its annual Young Workers Education Event.
Hot on the heels of POL’s announcement of plans to franchise 74 Crown Post Offices to WH Smith, the 70 young workers at the two-day networking and engagement-building initiative in October seized the opportunity to promote the CWU’s new Save Our Post Office campaign.
Providing attendees real-life experience of public campaigning on an important industrial issue, the time on the streets explaining to the public what exactly they have to lose perfectly complemented a busy programme of discussion and debate on a wide range of issues that are especially pertinent to young workers.
Senior deputy general secretary Tony Kearns welcomed delegates to the event with his usual overview on how the union is doing and the challenges it faces – stressing the importance of bringing forward a new generation of activists prepared to stand up against an increasingly unequal and exploitative world of work.
General secretary Dave Ward and CWU president, Beryl Shepherd, led a discussion on the union’s New Deal for Workers campaign and the pressing need for the wider TU movement to collectively rise to the challenge of fundamentally shifting the balance of forces in workers’ favour.
A number of workshops saw delegates taking part in lively discussions covering issues as diverse as young people and addiction; the importance of standing up against racism and the need for trade unions to communicate effectively with the wider world.
Industrial round-table sessions with deputy general secretaries Terry Pullinger (postal) and Andy Kerr (T&FS) gave delegates the chance to discuss the big workplace issues in both sectors directly with the chief negotiators.
As normal, the weekend ended with a lively ‘mock conference’ where the debates mainly focused on the issues covered in the previous day’s workshops.
Scott Hartles, chair of the National Young Workers Committee, told The Voice: “It was fantastic to see so many enthusiastic young people wanting to get involved in the trade union movement and make a difference. I’d urge all those who attended to stay actively involved in the union.”
General secretary Dave Ward concludes: “The energy, innovation and commitment shown by our Young Workers from across the UK over the weekend shows the union is in good hands both now and in the future.
“From debating policies to getting out in the streets to support our campaign to Save the Post Office, the weekend was a great example of where we want to take the Young Workers section of the CWU.
“The challenge for the whole union now is to support our younger reps and members more than ever and the challenge for our younger members is to drive the change you want to see.”