Royal Mail - Bedworth - Adam Harmsworth
Royal Mail - Bedworth - Adam Harmsworth

Communication Workers Union (CWU) members in Royal Mail were out on national strike on 26 August – the biggest strike yet in the summer wave – for a decent pay rise without strings.

More strikes will take place on 31 August and 8 and 9 September.

Postal workers made recently privatised Royal Mail £758 million profit in the last two years, essential workers who kept the service going through lockdown. And £400 million has been paid to shareholders in dividends.

The CEO got an annual pay and perks package worth £753,000. The deal included a bonus of £142,000.

But he expects Royal Mail workers to accept 2%, plus another 3.5% which they will have to pay for themselves through job losses and increased working. All the CWU is asking for is a pay rise that keeps up with inflation.

The company is taking advantage of new anti-worker laws to bus in agency workers to try and break the strike. But the strike remains solid.

Socialist Party members visited hundreds of picket lines to show our solidarity with the strike. We handed out leaflets arguing for coordinated strike action, as well as the renationalisation of Royal Mail, BT and all telecommunications.

Below are just some of the reports.


Everywhere cars tooted their support, as many workers understand that they might be taking action themselves soon. The bosses, Tories, and Labour politicians expect us to take big real pay cuts this year.

At every single picket line, there was widespread support for the idea raised by the Socialist Party that the Trades Union Congress (TUC) should make a call for all workers to strike together and to coordinate the action. Many strikers expressed an interest in coming on the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of the TUC on 11 September.

Dave Reid


John Wilkinson – assistant area rep for Leicestershire, and shop steward for deliveries at Leicester Mail Preparation Unit – said:

“Royal Mail say that they’ve given us 5.5%, but they haven’t. Its pie in the sky.

“They’ve imposed a 2% pay rise on my members, which equates to roughly around £1 a day. They say that another 1.5% will be linked to changes to terms and conditions, but they are forcing them in.

“Then the last 2% is linked to a £500 bonus. But nobody from Royal Mail headquarters – right down to the local line managers – can tell us how we’re going to earn that. So effectively it would be a pay ‘rise’ of 2%.

“There are picket lines in every town and city in the country. But we are hoping to have the biggest turnout in the country. The strike is strong and massively supported.

“Nobody wants to lose money by being out on strike, but we have been forced into this position. Our backs are against the wall.

“The pay increase is insulting to our members, and insulting to the service that we provide to the public. And the terms that they are offering are taking us back 100 years.”

Steve Score

Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire

As well as pay, Waltham Cross pickets were really angry about the attacks on working conditions. “They want to be able to turn us on and off like a tap”.

“Annualised hours would mean delivering mail in the dark in the evening in winter”. “They call themselves a family firm, but we won’t be able to pick up our kids from school as we do now”.

“They’ve even been telling us we’re not walking fast enough! After everything we did during the pandemic, turning the company around”.

And there wasn’t much love for Labour, “Starmer is just a Tory with a blue tie”, said one picket.

Chris Thomas

Carmel Gates, member of the Socialist Party’s sister party in the north of Ireland, Militant Left, speaking at the CWU rally in Belfast



On hearing about the NSSN lobby of the TUC, one worker said: “We should all go to Brighton”. They took leaflets to display in the staff area.

Another added: “At some point the employers will realise they cannot keep taking the piss out of all of us. This used to be one of the best-paid jobs in the country. Now I wouldn’t even consider becoming a postie if I was young”.

Luís Bertolin

Kings Norton

One passing teacher stopped to offer support to the posties: “We’ve all had enough. I’m hoping it’ll be us teachers on strike in a few months”. She left her details to find out more about the local Socialist Party branch


Sutton Coldfield

Management hired five extra vans, but couldn’t find any agency workers to drive them, and were forced to close the office.

Joe Foster


Pickets understood the government is orchestrating a race to the bottom, and are not expecting a quick resolution to the dispute.

Clive Walder

Acton, west London

With the number of high-rise tower blocks going up, the posties are being expected to deliver more and more in the same amount of time, or less as the bosses cut hours.

Ben Goldstone


One CWU rep texted us later in the day: “Thank you for the pic, and showing your support and solidarity this morning at my office, and for doing the rounds showing same around our neighbouring offices”.

Pickets told us that they had accepted the extra pressures during the pandemic, but now management are seeking to turn that into a new normal.

Izabelle Grant and Iain Dalton

Bromsgrove, Worcestershire

Eroding of conditions and pensions were a big concern. More packages being delivered is difficult to handle for posties, while letters are left in the office. The strikers asked the question: ‘Who is there to vote for, as Labour are as bad as the Tories’.

Carol Leach


On the picket line, striking workers said: “It’s a global problem, the corporations are sucking all the money out”.

“The small man and woman are fed up of only getting scraps from the top. The scraps are getting smaller and smaller. They’re even trying to take our scraps away”.

“If we all strike together we can bring the country down. Not the whole country, just the rich”.

Tom Baldwin


Even some of the agency workers refused to cross the picket line. Carl Williams, assistant secretary of the local CWU, said: “Something is happening in this country, and has changed in the last 18 months. People can only take so much”.

Rob Richards, CWU Area health and safety rep, stated: “It’s about time, workers fighting back against corporate greed. Enough is enough”.

Teresa MacKay


Area CWU rep Neil Jones was critical of the TUC leadership, who he said should be uniting the struggles taking place.

He took some leaflets advertising our ‘What the Socialist Party stands for’ meeting. Local strikers are invited to attend.

Malcolm Richardson


At the Yorkshire Distribution Centre, nobody but managers went in. The upbeat mood was assisted by supplies of drinks and food, as well as many passing lorry drivers at the industrial estate tooting in support.

At the delivery office, picketing numbers reached a high of 20, although pickets came and went. Some started as early as 4am. Strikers were clear that they were probably in for a long struggle against an intransigent management.

Iain Dalton

Great Malvern, Worcestershire

I joined a large group of CWU members at the Royal Mail depot. Royal Mail plans are completely unacceptable, involving less work in the summer, but more in the winter.

There was movement of a vehicle in the depot. I must have looked concerned because pickets were quick to point out that the driver of the vehicle would be on strike that evening.

I handed out leaflets for a Worcestershire NSSN meeting on 5 September.

Pete McNally


Great turnout at the sorting office. Only two agency staff crossed the picket line.

John Malcolm

Wednesbury, Sandwell

Striking posties told us: “I’m working full time and I’m on the breadline”, but “we’re all in this together, our fight is your fight”.

Gareth Knox