Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/491/2494
77% vote 'yes' for action
Defend the postal service
Fight for a living wage
COMMUNICATION WORKERS' Union (CWU) members across the country have massively voted in favour of strike action to defend terms and conditions and the postal service.
Gary Clark, sub area rep, Scotland No 2 branch CWU
With a 'yes' vote of over 77%, we are heading for our first national strike for ten years. This is despite a huge Royal Mail propaganda campaign - a day never passed without a personal letter or a workplace 'team brief'.
At the same time management were taking down posters from union notice boards and refusing the union the right to speak to our members within Royal Mail buildings, even during meal breaks.
After the vote was announced there has been no attempt by Royal Mail to try and avoid strike action. In fact they have stated in a letter sent to all employees that: "As we have told the union, many times, the board are not prepared to negotiate under a threat of a strike". So it now seems likely that we will shortly be on strike.
It's clear that 130,000 CWU members have rejected not only a cut in terms and conditions but a blatant attack on the service, which will result in 40,000 job losses, later delivery times, reduction in collections and weekend working and a complete destruction of the post office network.
For the ordinary postal worker it is a massive attack on terms and conditions. Not only do we face a below-inflation pay rise of 2.5%, it's the strings that make it totally unacceptable. We are expected to agree to massive job losses and during the summer months to run the service with 20% less staff.
They want us to agree to deliver more of the free leaflets for no extra pay, despite Royal Mail expecting to increase income by £41 million by this. And a change in start times will result in a loss of shift allowance of £12 a week.
Management have stated that there is no more money in the pot but what they don't say is that they have just had a £1.2 billion investment by the government. And Royal Mail chief executive Adam Crozier got a 'bonus' of £370,000 last year, bringing his total remuneration package to over £1 million.
It's clear this is not just about pay but the future of the service and why it's there. Is it there to provide a vital service to the public or to make millions for the senior managers in Royal Mail?
It can't be any more clear that this is a fight the union can't afford to lose.
CWU members speak
"This is a magnificent result and reflects the resolve of the members to fight for both improvements in their own terms and conditions and to secure the future of the post office."
Bernard Roome, CWU national executive, personal capacity
"The ballot result is fantastic news but we need to strike as soon as possible."
"When the ballot result was relayed live from the conference to Burslem through someone's mobile phone there was cheering all round the depot!"
Burslem postal workers
"Management have been crawling all over the place for the last few weeks but after the ballot result they were nowhere to be seen."
"Royal Mail have sent me six letters so far to ask me to vote 'no' but we're not stupid. This time we will fight to the end".
Workers from the Manual Data Entry Centre, Stoke.
In The Socialist 14 June 2007:
Unison national conference
What we think
Socialist Party NHS campaign
War and terrorism
G8 Summit protests
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis