Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/592/7692
Protesting against scabbing managers
On 4 September, postal workers from the CWU held a demonstration outside the Unite union headquarters and a rally in the Friends Meeting House, London.
Postal workers are angry about the scabbing and bullying by Royal Mail management, who are organised in the union Unite through the Communication Managers' Association. Postal workers from as far away as Scotland attended the rally.
Managers are being moved around the country for strikebreaking. In one small delivery office 110 managers replaced less than 50 strikers.
Management, supported by the government, are determined to break the CWU. National agreements are being ignored in favour of "executive action". This includes altering duties, changing times of attendance, moving people from mail centres into delivery miles away, and making full time jobs part time.
The rally, organised by the London divisional committee, was also addressed by speakers from two other regions and Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary.
Everyone agreed that the dispute was a national one, but reps asked why there was months of delay between the London strike ballot and the national one.
The link with the Labour Party was another topic of discussion. Billy Hayes said that the CWU was giving no money to the party, except the affiliation fee and money for sponsored MPs!
Against this, the London divisional committee are organising a consultative ballot for disaffiliation.
My CWU branch secretary was among those who pointed out that members are already opting out of the political levy and would continue to do so.
The consultative ballot is a welcome step forward. However, the question of a new political party was not discussed.
The CWU has got support from some sponsored MPs and some non-sponsored MPs on such issues as privatisation. However, so far Labour MPs have only been willing to stand against the party when they had already been deselected.
A political alternative cannot be built that way, one by one. Trade unions and socialist organisations have to take the initiative.
Royal Mail dispute: Militancy stepped up
On 29 August, in an unprecedented act for an individual Isle of Wight Royal Mail delivery office, staff at the Newport (IOW) delivery office held a one-day stoppage. As a result of this official stoppage, mail deliveries in the Newport, Cowes, East Cowes and Yarmouth areas of the island did not take place that day.
Keith Glaysher, Newport CWU rep
In the past the Newport office has only taken part in national disputes, but at a recent CWU postal workers' union area meeting the members present asked for the office to be balloted over local and national issues. When the ballot took place the CWU members in the office voted to take industrial action.
In the past the IOW has not been classed as a militant area and as a result has been regularly targeted by Royal Mail as an easy area to bring in unagreed changes and large budgetary savings.
The CWU members at the Newport delivery office, who number almost 90 staff, made the decision to take industrial action due to Royal Mail managers using executive action to force through a 're-sign' of duties. The re-sign will then pave the way to bring in a new set of unagreed duties which will reduce substantially the number of full-time jobs in the office.
Also the members were angered by the way the managers regularly refuse to discuss and negotiate seriously with the elected office CWU representative over important issues that affect the office and their working conditions.
Over 30 staff attended the picket line outside the Newport delivery office. Support came from about 20 people from various organisations including Unison, the FBU and RMT unions and also sacked workers from the Vestas campaign.
In The Socialist 9 September 2009:
War and occupation
Trades Union Congress
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
Postal workers strike
Marxist analysis: history
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review