Whole trade union movement must support CWU

Socialist Party member in CWU

The dispute between Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Royal Mail management has taken a dramatic turn with the threat of 10,000 job cuts.

The announcement came as CWU reps from across the country met in London to be given an update, which included that talks had re-opened and some small progress was being made!

On the same night, CEO Simon Thompson was on social media saying that no talks were planned. He said that any talks would need to be done via the arbitration service ACAS, despite having served notice of withdrawal from major national agreements, reducing the CWU’s role to just consultative and not for negotiations.

The threat is that 6,000 of the job cuts would be through redundancy, including possible compulsory redundancy, which is a breach of another national agreement.

This has only hardened the resolve of CWU members. We demand the removal of the CEO, as it’s becoming clear that this fight won’t end until he is removed.

The bosses also raise the threat of separating off the profitable international parcel service GLS, which they claim ‘props up’ the postal service. What is wrong with that? A publicly owned, integrated service would precisely ensure that essential aspects of a service would be maintained, even if they are not ‘profitable’. 

The Tories are in deep crisis – Royal Mail bosses would think again about their plans if Keir Starmer threatened now to enact the CWU’s motion passed at Labour Party conference to nationalise Royal Mail.

The 19-day plan of action is continuing. The CWU has now launched a strike fund. The whole trade union movement needs to come behind the CWU.

The next all-Royal Mail strike day on 20 October is coordinated with CWU members in BT.


Reporting from the Royal Mail picket lines

Robin Clapp reports that on a buoyant and well-attended CWU postal workers’ picket line in south Bristol, the visiting divisional union organiser reported to the pickets on tentative talks. He was in no doubt that Royal Mail management had been spooked by the determination of the workforce and the difficulties posed for them by the ongoing strike, as Black Friday and then the pre-Christmas rush loom on the horizon.

“We’ve forced the talks, but posties all round the country have made clear to our senior negotiators we don’t want ‘toilet paper promises’ in order to give management a phoney Christmas ceasefire. We’re out for as long as it takes to get a cast iron agreement that protects jobs and conditions.”

Chris Corney and Ellen Kenyon-Peers report that the picket line in Walthamstow, east London, turned into a de facto union meeting, as pickets were joined by the local CWU area rep and national executive member. Royal Mail was reported to be putting new starters on a 40-hour week, on lower pay than current staff on 37 hours, and wants to shift drivers onto a self-employed model.

They remarked on the bravery of pickets in general, but especially those in Walthamstow with hostile management. Pickets talked about a local manager who favours people who break strikes, with vouchers, overtime and other perks. The fact management have resorted to favouritism and bullying tactics shows their weakness and fear. The mood of strikers was tough and determined.

The picket was visited by a couple of workers from maintenance, who have also voted to strike and will be joining the action.

  • Over 40,000 BT and Openreach workers in the CWU are taking two more days of strike action on 20 and 24 October in their fight over pay – the first national strike action in 35 years. The strike will again be joined by 500 workers in 999 call centres. BT bosses are still refusing to negotiate a fair agreement.