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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 October 2019

Royal Mail dispute: Workers determined to fight bosses' injustices

Renationalise the industry under democratic workers' control

photo A Tice

photo A Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Robert McArdle, Coventry Communications Workers Union (CWU) member

A showdown between Royal Mail bosses and 120,000 workers is taking place as jobs and conditions come under attack.

Plans to separate Parcelforce workers into a new limited company and rip up agreements with the CWU have rightly angered the whole workforce. Added to this, many postal workers are experiencing harassment and bullying as more pressure is heaped upon their deliveries.

New technology that was meant to improve work life is being used to spy on workers and punish instead.

The CWU 'Four Pillars' agreement, that was signed up to by Royal Mail management in 2017, is now under review, with a real threat to jobs and services, leading to an accelerated 'race to the bottom' on working conditions.

Suddenly, Royal Mail is pleading poverty when it comes to reducing the working week by one hour under the agreement. But it can afford to give millions of pounds to the new chief executive and shareholders!

Faced with the prospect of massive job losses and hard fought gains by trade unionists over the years, CWU members are determined to fight back. Up and down the country, gate meetings have been taking place to secure a massive 'yes' vote in the ballot.

Expressed anger

Rank-and-file CWU members have joined forces to express their anger. Social media has been ablaze with videos and photos as workers display their unity and strength, determined to beat the restrictive Tory anti-trade union laws and tackle the culture of bullying in the workplace.

All the warnings about the dangers of privatising Royal Mail back in 2013 are now beginning to unfold. Driven by the desire to reward shareholders and fat cat bosses - workers are expected to pay the price with gig economy working practices.

Postal workers in the CWU are showing that fighting back and collective strength can win the struggle to defend jobs and working conditions. But only a fully nationalised postal service run in the interests of the many not the few, under democratic workers' control, will lead to safeguarding this national treasure. Delivering a massive yes vote in the CWU ballot is the first step in that process.

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