Royal Mail Salisbury picket line. Photo: Ali Cook
Royal Mail Salisbury picket line. Photo: Ali Cook

Socialist Party member in CWU

Communication Workers Union (CWU) members across the Royal Mail group have taken three days of strike action – a fourth day was halted due to the Queen’s death.

We saw the strongest picket lines anyone can remember. Many areas which, in the past, were viewed as weaker for strike action, reported solid support this time. We even saw thousands of vans, hired for agency staff to strikebreak, remaining parked up.

Managers, who are mainly Unite members, barely made a dent in the backlog of mail after the first two strike days. These managers are on a £1,500 ‘attendance bonus’ if they work through to 31 October.

So Royal Mail have found millions of pounds to try and break the strike, but it has clearly failed.

On the eve of the 8 September strike, Royal Mail paid out another £137 million to the shareholders. 

Pay outs for bosses

Alongside this, over a million shares were given to four directors, worth over £2.5 million.

Postal workers saw this as a provocation, which only hardened the mood.

The CWU leadership has accused Royal Mail of being involved in takeover talks with the Luxembourg-based Vesa Equity company, owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, which already owns close to 25% of Royal Mail.

It appears that the bosses’ aim in this dispute is to break the CWU so they can push up the price of the sale.

Then the current shareholders can make billions and allow Vesa to come in and asset-strip what was once a publicly owned institution with a 500-year-old history.

More strike dates

The CWU has named further 48-hour strike dates on 30 September and 1 October. These are on the second ballot over terms and conditions, which saw a historic 98.7% yes vote for strike action. This leaves three weeks for talks. But a breakthrough at present seems unlikely, as Royal Mail management are pushing ahead.

If there is no movement then the CWU should call demonstrations and rallies across the country on Saturday 1 October and make a call to the wider trade union movement for solidarity.          

We must step up the fight to clear out these privateers and to nationalise the industry under democratic workers’ control and management.

On the CWU picket lines

Postal workers in Royal Mail took their third day of national strike action on Thursday 8 September.


Thursday was day three of industrial action. A loss of two days’ pay, which, given the current climate of the cost-of-living and energy prices, is a big challenge for many. But despite this and the heavy rain here, Grimsby remains defiant. Strong support from CWU members and indeed the public remains high – something that Simon Thompson [Royal Mail boss] and his cohorts don’t want to see. 

The letter we all received this week spoke the usual rhetoric that we have come to expect from a board of directors that sees fit to reward themselves bonuses and shares whilst blaming us for the loss in revenue.

Grimsby members remain strong and steadfast, and so do the public, in our fight for not only a realistic pay rise but decent working conditions too.

Roy Crampton, CWU picket supervisor

Hockley, Birmingham

One striker told us: “This has been going on far too long, it’s time people stood up for themselves. How can businesses increase their profits by 73% last year and then tell us they can’t afford a decent pay increase?” And another: “Labour has done nothing for us. Where’s Starmer? It’s like he just wants to hide on the Tory backbenches”.

Nick Hart


At the Mansfield picket line, two agency HGVs arrived and had keys to let themselves in. Strikers and Socialist Party members appealed to the drivers for solidarity, and we gave them copies of our leaflet. We asked that they turn around and support the CWU strike, and listened to their description of being work-weary.

The agency worker decided not to cross the picket line, and asked where we were from and did we have a business card! The agency worker left to solidarity salutes from the strikers and a round of ‘The workers united will never be defeated’.

Paul Tooley-Okonkwo

A worker on the Mansfield picket line spoke to Denise Tooley-Okonkwo:

“We are not getting paid for two days. When we are back at work we put everything into four days rather six. We are working harder for less money. There were more people that voted to strike than voted Liz Truss in.”


At West Park Delivery Office, one postie said: “They can’t find money to nationalise the energy companies, but they’re quick enough to find money for MPs’ pay rises”

Ryan Aldred


There were twice as many pickets as last time at Patchway mail centre, which itself was bigger than the time before. They’re in really high spirits and the beeping of horns is nearly constant.

Tom Baldwin

Pocklington, East Yorkshire

There was a good turnout from CWU members at the picket line on a small office in Pocklington this morning. They are resolute to see this through to the end. The rep said: “We simply can’t afford such a massive pay cut, and all management are offering is a smaller pay cut and a huge change to our working conditions”.

Steve Scott 


A Birch Park rep bought The Socialist and told us he thought TUSC might be the way forward.

At Leeman Road, the picket is on the main road, so there is lots of solidarity from passing traffic. They even had a fire engine stop by to offer support and drop off some food. Two posties from Hull on holiday in York stopped by to support the picket line.

Iain Dalton

Hengoed, Caerphilly

Jeff Williams, CWU rep, spoke to Mariam Kamish:  “I think we’re well overdue for a general strike. We have so many workers out now. The appetite for it is there. It just needs organising.”


Strikers told Nick Chaffey: “We’ve had solid support here for the strike. What’s on offer is a joke when inflation is where it is. 2% is an extra £7 a week which doesn’t cover the extra cost of fuel getting to work. We need one bloody big strike with everyone out!”

Waltham Cross, Herts

Some pickets went to the bus station next door, where Arriva bus drivers had been on strike three days before. Every driver who passed loudly sounded their horn in solidarity.

Chris Thomas