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Postal workers support students because their struggle is right

Billy Hayes, General Secretay of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), was due to speak to a London rally organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union on 9th December 2010. Because of crowds and road closures Billy could not reach the rally.

This is what he would have said…

I bring you greetings on behalf of 220,000 CWU members in the finance services, postal and telecommunications industries. We support your struggle because higher education should be a right not a privilege. The Government is reducing the higher education resource budget by 40% up to 2014-15. This is a terrible blow to the educational prospects of millions of young people. Economic recovery will not come by reducing living standards, slashing public services, or by cutting education.

The Government’s policy of cuts, not investment, is going to make matters worse not better. Students are entitled to a well funded education system. They need the best start in their working lives. Higher education teachers also need to work with resources adequate to the job. It cannot be right to impose fees which will see students leaving university with debts up to £30,000 or more. This creates a downward pressure upon wages and conditions in the whole jobs market.

The Tories, and their Lib Dem allies, are quite happy to see living standards lowered. They say we are all in this together. But this is a Cabinet of millionaires and very wealthy people. Their children will be paying fees up front. Their children won’t be making repayments for up to 30 years.

Keep up your struggle, because it is right. I believe a big majority of people in this country support you. Your actions have inspired many of us. Your stand is reawakening the conviction of many older people that change is possible, and change is necessary.

My own Union is involved in a serious campaign against the privatisation of Royal Mail. We are fighting to Keep the Post Public. Today I met with senior activists from across the country to discuss our campaign. It was a good discussion. One thing came across very clearly, and that was their admiration for the action of students and school students. Believe me – what you do makes a difference. Ignore those cynics, and sold out hacks, who suggest that you are powerless and can change nothing. The Government is seriously concerned, and you are creating splits inside the governing parties. So keep up the fight – together we will win. Thanks for listening.”

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