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Postal Workers’ Manifesto

Solidarity: For Workers’ Power, Vol. 8, No. 3 (December 1975), pp. 3-5

The CTT (Post Office) workers came out on strike on June 17, 1974. As the dispute hit directly at the new administration it was savagely repressed by the government and virulently denounced by the PCP. For the PCP there could be no strikes ‘against the collectivity’. The problem was that the CTT workers did not feel themselves part of the ‘collectivity’. After all the belief in the union structure which the ‘Pro-Union Committee’ (CPS) had fostered, the CTT workers were ‘amazed’ at being attacked publicly by the so-called political Party of the Working Class. The Committee issuing the manifesto was made up of various union tendencies from before April 25th and a number of worker militants integrated onto the Committee at a later date. Despite illusions as to the role of the PCP and as to the role of unions as organs of struggle, the document raises a number of interesting points.

‘A great campaign of lies continues to fall upon us, the workers of CTT. The real meaning of our struggle persistently continues to be misrepresented, so that public opinion has come out against us, trying to raise doubts and confusion among us, and seeking to isolate the pro-union workers’ committee.

We daily receive hundreds of telephone calls and telegrams from allover the country in which the CTT workers demonstrate their support, decide to continue united in struggle, and ask that we deny and denounce the untrue allegations made against the Committee and against all the workers of CTT. It is the indignant voices of 35,000 workers, and the right of the public to receive correct information ~hich compel us, yet again, to deny the falsehoods and insinuations made against us. These are made by the leaders of the Lisbon Regional Organisation (DORL) of the so-called Communist Party, an organisation which despite calling itself the party of the workers and the defender of their interests has distinguished itself in this campaign by attacking our struggle. It is an organisation which is certainly aware of the facts. But they have misrepresented and falsified our struggle in their communiques, in their meetings, in their press and even in other organs of information, through articles and declarations from their members and sympathisers.

Let us look, for example, at some of the most important points of the DORL communique of the so-called Communist Party, which appeared in the newspapers of June 28, 1974 :

1) On the composition of the CPS they say it is made up of elements which appeared after April 25th, replacing the workers who, for nearly 4 years, had struggled hard and honestly for the creation of a union.
They try to create the impression that the elements of this Committee never did any work for the workers.
It is evident that a committee which tried to organise union work in an enterprise numbering 35,000 workers could not function with a small number of people. Because of this the Committee was enlarged to help it cope with the many problems which the workers face. The new members of the Committee were democratically elected by the workers, at a meeting held in the Sports Pavilion on May 5.

2) The PCP claims that the Committee “called the strike ‘over the heads of the majority of CTT workers’. As we have announced a number of times (and the majority of CTT workers can confirm this) the strike was decided by the workers, in a large meeting of delegates, through telephone contacts with various parts of the country who could not be present, and in Assemblies held in many work-places. The decision to strike was not taken by the CPS. The Committee limited itself to carrying out the instructions of the workers. Moreover, the strike was declared on June 12 and there was still time until June 17 for the government to put forward a negotiable counter-proposal.

The PCP knows this very well. A member of their Central Committe was informed of it when he was at our offices. We don’t understand why they continue to lie about us and seek to prevent the public from being accurately informed.

3) As regards the abandoning of the struggle by those who are most impartial, we ask DORL to say who these are.

4) The communique reiterates various accusations against individual-workers of CTT, saying that they are deeply implicated in Fascism. The CPS would appreciate knowing their names and being provided with proofs, so that we can collate all the facts and speed up the purging processes.

5) The communique continues: ‘Workers of CTT, it is you and only yqu who can accept the government proposalso In all stations you should hold meetings and approve motions in support of the government proposals’. We can say that in all stations meetings have taken place and motions have been proposed. All rejected the government proposals.

Meanwhile the workers have approved a new list of demands 7 which has already been handed in.

While we have tried to clear up some fundamental points the list of lies is long. The CPS have more important tasks than entering into polemics with political organisations. This was never our intention and we hope we won’t be forced to spend our time in such replies. Political organisations who, for whatever reasons, oppose our struggle should do so honestly, and not use lies and falsifications which have an effect on public opinion. They should reply to the facts.

Once again we affirm that we are reacting to the so-called Communist Party because they have been the standard-bearers of the struggle against us, and the principal force which supports the offensive against us.

The principal task of the Committee is to develop the work of the union and the united struggle of the workers in the defense of their interests and needs.

Lisbon, June 29, 1974.

The above document was sent to all the national papers. None of them published it.


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