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WINNING a Yes vote in a national ballot of 110,000 members across 1,400 workplaces is no easy task.
It certainly isn’t made any easier by the Tory anti-trade union laws which seek to discredit and undermine union activity every step of the way — particularly when balloting members for industrial action.
One of the ways we went about winning this vote was by galvanising our members across social media with digital communications.
We were reaching tens of thousands of our members through videos, graphics and posts that inspired them to get behind the union.
But behind this engagement was something much bigger. Some of our posts were reaching hundreds of thousands of people.
By the end of the balloting period, we had reached millions of people online. Support was coming not just from our reps and members, but from the wider labour movement and even further afield.
In many ways I was not surprised to see the trade union movement united behind our members in the balloting period.
Solidarity is, after all, what underpins our entire struggle. But what did surprise me was the amount of people we reached within the wider labour movement, within the Labour Party, and also members of the public.
Over the last year we have been reaching millions of people through our CWU social media accounts — so we knew that the support was there.
I just had no idea how deep the support went. I was certainly aware when I saw #WeRiseAgain as the number one trend in the UK, above Brexit, Bercow and Arsenal (although perhaps that last one shouldn’t come as much of a surprise … sorry Jeremy!)
The problem is that as engaged as the wider movement is with our campaigning, their support can only operate on a surface level: sharing our posts, retweeting our tweets and liking what we have to say. I have known this to be an issue for a while. So, we have come up with a solution.
We have just launched CWU Supporters, a new network for the wider movement to get involved with our campaigns and to show their support for our members in this current dispute.
You can join for free by signing up at www.cwusupporters.co.uk using your email address. The idea is to start to build a network of people who want to be involved with the vital work we are doing both industrially and politically.
And if this takes off, we will be prepared to take it further and build on its success so that we can create a network of working-class communities across the country that are united in fighting for change.
We want to reach out to as many people as possible. Public support for our current dispute will be vital as we look to defend our members’ jobs, and the future of postal services across the UK.
We need to make sure that people are aware of what we are fighting against — Rico Back’s model of bogus self-employment, 14-hour days without breaks and workers on a poverty wage.
This is a fight with our employer, but it is also a fight against exploitation in general. We want to inspire workers across the country to rise up and demand the dignity that they deserve.
So join us on this mission. Become a CWU supporter. Let’s fight together to change the world of work and create a better Britain that works for all.
Dave Ward is general secretary of the CWU.
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