The Socialist June 30, 2021 |
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Gary Clark, photo Mary Finch, photo Mary Finch (Click to enlarge)
Gary Clark is running for the National Executive and Postal Executive of the Communications Workers Union (CWU). Gary has been active in the trade union and socialist movement since 1985. For the past 25 years he has been a member of the CWU as a postal worker in Branch No 2 Scotland. He started out as a local representative in a distribution office and has been the branch secretary of Scottish Branch No.2 for the past four years, one of the largest branches in the UK with over 3,000 members.
- What is your platform and your basic demands in terms of these election campaigns?
I’ll take the average salary of a postman. I think that to represent postal workers, you have to live like a postal worker. I am also campaigning for a minimum wage of Â£ 15 an hour. In the last deal, we saw a 2.1% pay rise, but now we have to push for more.
We cannot stand idly by. A number of members have to claim benefits. With Â£ 15 an hour we can take them out of that to live on a living wage and not just get by.
We must therefore fight for the demand for a 35-hour week. We’ve seen Royal Mail drag its feet on this one over the years. I demand that by next year we move to a 35-hour week.
Another point we should highlight is the culture of Royal Mail. For many years now, postal workers have suffered a culture of harassment within Royal Mail under pressure from managers: it must stop.
We saw a new CEO come in saying he was going to change him. But we’ve seen all of this with many CEOs before. The time has come. Unless we see drastic changes, we must fight back and defend our members. And that should include a special meeting called by the CWU nationwide. We need to discuss serious measures to protect our members from this culture of bullying.
- You are a member of the Socialist Party Scotland and a longtime socialist. In your opinion, what should be the role of the CWU in terms of political representation of its members?
Political representation is vital. The Corbyn era is over in Labor. Starmer arrived and we saw public attacks on the CWU by senior Labor Party officials. Now MEPs are asking the question, why do we still support Labor? I’m not saying there aren’t good people in the Labor Party. But let’s be clear, the Labor Party is going back to the Blair era and no longer representing the interests of ordinary workers and members of the CWU.
My policy is that we should only support people who support us. It can be people inside the Labor Party but also outside.
We should also get in touch with other trade unionists with a similar point of view and convene a special conference on the representation of the working class. Because, obviously, there is no political leader in Westminster, or in the Scottish Parliament, who truly stands up for the interests of the people we represent. Now let’s have an honest and open debate about this within the CWU and integrate it into the wider labor movement.
- On the future of Royal Mail, one of your main demands is the re-nationalization of the industry. Is it important?
Royal Mail recently reported profits of Â£ 700million this year. The vast majority of this sum will be paid to the main shareholders; not the local post which owns a few shares, but the multinationals. Royal Mail should be re-nationalized and run under the democratic control of workers and communities who know the sector inside and out. We need to take control for the benefit of the people we represent and the people who rely on the service.