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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 October 2017

Workers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

Doncaster postal workers' strike, 24.3.17, photo A Tice

Doncaster postal workers' strike, 24.3.17, photo A Tice   (Click to enlarge)

A Royal Mail worker

"The public has a right to be protected from unsupported disruption being caused by a small proportion of union members and that's exactly what the Trade Union Act will do." That was according to Tory business minister Margot James speaking on the introduction of the Trade Union Act 2016.

But the true nature of the legislation was thrust into the open on 12 October when the judiciary came to the rescue of Royal Mail bosses in defying a democratic strike ballot result.

It was the first national ballot for strike action since the act's introduction. 72,877 Communication Workers Union (CWU) members voted to fight back against Royal Mail's attack on their pension rights and refusal to engage seriously over pay, working hours, future job security and the need to improve the service.

Those members would surely be forgiven for expecting that an 89.1% yes vote, on a 73% turnout, is no "small proportion", especially given that it smashed through the thresholds outlined in the Trade Union Act.

But the Royal Court of Justice ruled in favour of Royal Mail's claim that the full 'external mediation process' hadn't been exhausted, despite around 18 months of negotiations and the company having already informed workers about the changes to pensions.

Plans for a 48-hour strike from 19 October have been "postponed" with the union forced to enter mediation with the company.

The company's motivation - far from wanting to meaningfully engage in mediation - was revealed by a press release stating: "We expect the process to take close to Christmas to be completed, and maybe longer."

Rights

It is now evident that the thresholds in the act are not there to 'protect' the public but are another way of removing workers' right to strike.

And this result shows that bosses can then also rely on the judiciary to bail them out, should the thresholds be met in ballot results.

The anger already felt by members against the actions of the company has been added to by this court decision. Unofficial walkouts are possible and these must be supported by the union leadership.

This is an attack on all workers' right to strike and take action. Unions must recognise the implications of the new trade union laws. Members must pressure their leaders to create mass resistance, demanding TUC-organised support including solidarity action if necessary.

It is important that we fight this weak Tory government. These archaic anti-union laws can be put into the dustbin of history and Royal Mail can be placed into democratic public ownership for the benefit of workers and society.

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In The Socialist 18 October 2017:


What we think

Tories torn - bin them now


Socialist Party news and analysis

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

Young people being strangled by debts

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

What we saw


Socialist Party workplace news

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

Salford Unison condemns pay cuts


October revolution 1917

Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

October 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

October 1917 centenary pull-out and poster


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Uprising to save the NHS!

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea


International socialist news and analysis

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Powerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future


 

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Related links:

Royal Mail:

triangleRoyal Mail forced back under threat of action

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangleSet for national strike action

triangleCWU strike ballot to win 'Four Pillars'

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

Workers:

triangleBernie's book shows need for workers' party

triangleCapita in crisis: bring all outsourcers back in-house

triangleUniversity workers' walkout for decent pensions

triangleLocal government workers' reps reject 2% pay offer

Strike:

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: Save our NHS - the lessons of the Barts strike

triangleUni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

triangleBig political strike against Finnish government's attack on unemployed

Postal workers:

triangleDoncaster: snap strike by posties pushes bully bosses back

Union:

triangleUnison national women's conference

Trade union:

triangleFor workplace trade union organisation against sexual harassment

Public ownership:

triangleMcDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands

Solidarity:

triangleOxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity

Unions:

triangleNHS - build the fightback

Press:

triangleThe Socialist Party is being evicted - we need you!

TUC:

triangleNHS: use the 3 February protests as a launch pad for a mass movement

Government:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: How long can May cling on for?

CWU:

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

Anti-union laws:

triangleTories weak: time for the TUC to act

Pay:

triangleI'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

Pension:

triangleLecturers vote for strikes against pension cuts

Pensions:

triangleTory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

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