Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 24 July 2007


Critical dispute for postal workers

COMMUNICATION WORKERS' Union (CWU) members in the postal service are taking further action in their struggle for decent pay, to defend jobs and stop cuts to the service.

A rolling programme of strikes is taking place over two weeks resulting in action being taken in each section of Royal Mail which will mean members each taking two days of strike action. The last 24-hour strike was once again very solid and determined.

Anger is growing as Royal Mail managers continue to treat the union with contempt, refusing to negotiate with the union and going ahead with further cuts. Their latest plans would mean workers having to retire five years later or have their pensions slashed (senior managers exempt.) This is blamed on a 6 billion deficit not helped by Royal Mail taking a ten-year pension 'holiday.'

Dave Ward, deputy general secretary of the CWU has said that "members aren't going to roll over and accept this. It will only galvanise support for strike action." This is on top of the provocative announcement that thousands of postal workers will suffer a wage cut when later deliveries will be imposed from 13 August. The abolition of the Sunday collections has also been confirmed.

There is recognition from many postal workers now that the two 24-hour strikes separated by two weeks - which received overwhelming support - are not having a significant effect and that action must be escalated.

The CWU leadership hope that this latest action will minimise the amount of strike days alongside maximum disruption to the service. It is always preferable to use the least action necessary (and therefore the least amount of hardship) to cause the most disruption and win the dispute as quickly as possible. But while it could result in the blocking up of the postal network there can be inherent dangers in this rolling action.

When all workers are out on the same day (as in previous strikes) there is a feeling of strength and it is possible to bring workers together with rallies, meetings and demonstrations. Rather than being part of united national action, this latest action could potentially bring problems of confusion and isolation.

Members could find themselves in a difficult position as a number of Royal Mail buildings will see members out on strike at different times. Inevitably some members not scheduled to take strike action will refuse to cross picket lines out of solidarity or refuse to do the work of those on strike and could then face victimisation from management.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes has called on members to support this action in a 'disciplined manner' and of course members will want to do so. But things could easily escalate into unofficial action with the danger of workers feeling more isolated.

Members forced to take unofficial action must be supported. After all much of the action taken by union members to further their cause is only classed as 'unofficial' because of the discriminatory anti-trade union laws supported by the Labour Party precisely to hold back effective action.

Public service workers

THE LATEST action must be fully supported. Future action, which is likely to be needed, should be escalated further with at least two or three consecutive days of national united strike action.

At stake is not only the pay and conditions of postal workers. The attacks on postal workers and the postal service itself are part of New Labour's plans to destroy our public services and privatise as much of the public sector as possible. In the same way that TNT and other private postal companies are making profits from a public postal service, big business are also hiving off parts of the health service, education and local services to line their pockets.

The wages and conditions of public sector workers are being driven down to match those in unscrupulous private companies. This is a benchmark dispute because if Royal Mail, backed by the government, get away with their attacks on postal workers and their union then that will be a green light for further attacks on all public sector workers and their unions.

This is not only a battle for the CWU. All trades unionists should support demonstrations and rallies called by the CWU but public-sector unions should also co-ordinate action on their battles against the pay freeze and plan a one-day public-sector strike.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 24 July 2007:

New Labour ignored flood warnings

Government cuts add to flooding crisis

Floods - who pays the bill?

Postal workers' strike

Postal workers: Their fight is our fight

Critical dispute for postal workers

Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: no more cuts, no more privatisation

Socialist Party news and analysis

Support Glasgow's social work strikers

Metronet walks away from trouble...

Airports industry expansion plans fail to take off

Brown's 'affordable housing' plan - all smoke and mirrors?

Tales from the council chambers

Tories save New Labour skins

If this is New Labour democracy...

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

The China Effect

Socialist Party reviews

Vicious bile and grovelling sweet talk

Why do we watch Big Brother?

Workplace news and analysis

Visteon workers continue fight for jobs

National Shop Stewards' Network hits the ground running

Another missed opportunity on teachers' pay

International socialist news and analysis

Erdogan's election victory reveals Turkey's faultlines

Mass protests planned at the APEC summit

Socialism 2007

Socialism 2007

Rally for Socialism

Socialist Party summer camp


Home   |   The Socialist 24 July 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Postal workers:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangleSet for national strike action

triangleDoncaster: snap strike by posties pushes bully bosses back


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

triangleTeachers strike again as anti-academy pressure mounts


triangleRoyal Mail forced back under threat of action

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil youth march for justice


Foreign Aid

Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity



Building support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections



What we saw: Tory-Blairite EU love-in



Rent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!


Public ownership

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



We can win the fight for the NHS



NHS - build the fightback



Corbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war



Haringey: now's our chance for a no-cuts council



90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes



Capita in crisis: bring all outsourcers back in-house



Trump v NHS



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



Capitalists fear for their system at Davos

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

February 2018

January 2018