Mark Walsh, Brach Secretary of Merseyside Amal. Branch was the first speaker. He announced that Dave Ward had been asked to attend a meeting with Allan Leighton. Of course there is no way of knowing what this meeting is about, but it seems unlikely that Leighton would ask for it simply to reiterate the ‘there is no more money available’ mantra.
Kieran Quinn told the meeting that when Leighton was asked which he considered was the greatest company in the world, he had replied “Wal-Mart”. Leighton had once worked for Wal-Mart and as Wal-Mart recognise no union and this is the way Leighton would like to see Royal Mail.
Frank Hont, Regional Secretary of Unison thanked C.W.U members for their support in past Unison campaigns and stated postal workers could always be relied on to respect Unison picket lines. He called on greater co-operation between trade unions in the campaigns ahead, a sentiment which was met with enthusiastic applause.
Geraldine Smith, Member of Parliament for Morecambe and Lunesdale addressed the meeting and expressed her wish that fellow Labour Party MP’s would speak out against Leighton and Crozier. Ms Smith, a former postal worker, has collected over 100 signatures for an Early Day Motion opposing their plan for the postal service.
The comrade from Uni told the rally that that the campaign against cuts in the postal service went far beyond Liverpool, Britain and Europe and had taken on an international aspect.
Billy Hayes asked the crowd what they thought of Allan Leighton, and if wishes were granted, plans for Leighton’s funeral would be underway quite soon. Billy announced that support from industrial action had increased from 77% of C.W.U members to 84% since strikes had taken place. He challenged the Government, who many workers had voted for, to take Postcomm to task and support the unions. Hayes also challenged Labour Members of Parliament who had been silent or who had criticised the strikes to get behind the campaign and reminded them that none of them had had 77% support from the electorate and that if they had, they might be in a better position to tell the C.W.U how to go about its business. Hayes stated that such meetings as this, and the industrial action which had taken place were only the start.
Jane Loftus C.W.U President thanked everyone for their attendance in such weather, and said the campaign would continue and that a united campaign with other public sector workers was essential. Let’s hope the leaders of the relevant unions pay attention to these calls from their rank and file members.
Billy Hayes' speech can be read here: http://www.billyhayes.co.uk/permalink.php?id=878_0_1_0_M