The Socialist 11 October 2003
Bosses Get Rich - Workers Get 30p
Fighting For A Living Wage
ON 1 October, postal workers in London went on strike for an improved cost of living allowance. As our reports show, the strike was solid and many strikers enthusiastically agreed with the idea of linking up with other London public-sector workers fighting for a living wage.
Boz, the union rep at the West Kensington office told the socialist: "We can't possibly survive on what we take at home at the moment. All the profits are being sunk into the top management.
"They're making bonuses on our backs. We're having to cut jobs just to suit Royal Mail. That's no good for us who work six days a week with families to support on £200 a week without bonuses. It's not good enough.
"Management try to be hard-line but most of them can't hack the job themselves and they're on good money.
"I think there is a case for linking up with other trade unions that are campaigning for better London weighting. We're all in the same boat.
"If you look at the police, they get over £6,000 London weighting and free travel, while the rest of us are well below what you should be getting in London.
"I think we are more determined to see things through."
David Jackson, union rep at the Hammersmith Office added: "After today I think the strikes may need to be stepped up to two or three days to show the management that we do believe in what we're fighting for...
"I think other trade unions need to take action as well. It's not just a Communication Workers' Union fight it's a London fight. We all need to be sticking together. I would like to see all the unions coming out together."
Mickey Sullivan, Mount Pleasant, Deputy Area Rep (Processing) pointed out: "Every day we're on strike is costing Royal Mail £10 million, yet it would cost just £15 million to settle this dispute.
"This shows that for the management this dispute is not about paying our justified claim but taking the union on.
"Leighton says we should abide by the national ballot result and refuses to negotiate, yet management ignore the ballot result on London weighting and still won't negotiate with us.
"I support UNISON's London weighting strike on 16 October. What we need is co-ordinated action with other low-paid workers. Unified action is better than fragmented action.
"The government has a responsibility to deal with the issue of the high cost of living in London. The ballot rejecting strike action did not mean support for an imposed national pay deal."
Stop press. The CWU have announced that the next London one-day strike will be on 16 October, the same day as UNISON's.
In this issue
Labour and the unions
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis