Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/480/2223
Edinburgh postal workers fight back
SCOTLAND NO 2 CWU branch officials have just negotiated a return to work of over 1,000 postal workers in the Edinburgh Mail centre, after a management climb-down.
Gary Clark, vice-chair Scotland No 2 branch
Edinburgh, like all areas of the country, are going through the latest round of cuts and savings. In the mail centre, in an area of work called the warehouse a number of duties were lost. This resulted in the CWU members starting to do the job as it should be done - ie doing the job properly and sticking to health and safety rules.
This resulted in thousands of items of mail failing delivery. Management responded by removing five members of staff from the area and made it clear that they would be disciplined, which could have led to dismissal.
When Royal Mail tried to move other members into that area to do the work, everyone refused. Then on Friday 23 March, scab workers were brought in, which led to a walkout by the nightshift. Management told the pickets that unless they returned to work, to be prepared to be out for a long time.
On Saturday morning many postal workers in Edinburgh refused to touch the "scab mail". This was followed by Glasgow mail centre workers refusing to handle Edinburgh mail. Collection drivers from outside Edinburgh refused to do collections, as they would have crossed picket lines in Edinburgh.
This led to a management climb-down on Sunday morning. They moved their position to where "officially" there will still be an investigation into the five but they also agreed to a joint inquiry into the reasons for the actions.
It's clear that Royal Mail were taken by surprise by the postal workers' solidarity. After a period of constant attack, postal workers have regained confidence in defending themselves.
In The Socialist 29 March 2007:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
What we think
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party feature
Northern Ireland agreement
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news