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Posted on 11 October 2007 at 0:00 GMT

Gloucestershire shows determination

THE RESPONSE from CWU members in Gloucester to renewed strike action has been overwhelming. Paul Trehearne (CWU Gloucester Amalgamated branch secretary) said: "Every office has maintained its level of support and in some it has increased. We've had fantastic support from the passing public."

Chris Moore, Gloucestershire Socialist Party

On the picket lines postal workers were under no illusions of what was at stake. Gareth Teasdale (Gloucester Mail Centre) summed up his feelings: "The dispute has escalated because Crozier [Royal Mail's chief executive] and management have decided they want to use this as an opportunity to nobble the union. Royal Mail is now offering us a worse deal than they offered us in April."

Darrell Taylor (Gloucester South delivery office) said: "Royal Mail claims to have been in discussions with the CWU since last March, now we learn that Messrs Leighton [Royal Mail Chair] and Crozier can't even be bothered to attend the meetings."

Keith Beard, CWU member from the same office, added: "Basically they want to run it down and sell it off." Andy Petrie (CWU unit rep at Gloucester South delivery office) summed up the situation: "This is the biggest attack on delivery and the rest of the service since I've been a postman, which is 27 years."

Jim Vickery (Gloucester Mail Centre) explained the effect of some of management's demands. "They want to build up teams which will decide how they will cover each other when they're on holiday and sick.

"They want the employee to revolve around the peaks and troughs of the business. If you had heavy traffic you'd be expected to stay on and clear that work. If it wasn't heavy you'd be obliged to go home and those hours banked and made up at a later date."

Ade Ellis (Gloucester South delivery office) explained about the loss of overtime pay. "Those that choose to do overtime could get up to 2 hours a day over a 16 week period, that works out at 1,504."

Dave Bonsor (Stroud delivery office) added: "Management are already imposing later start times and flexible working is worrying people because they can move you half hour earlier or later with a day's notice and two hours either way with a week's notice."

Management intimidation has only hardened the determination of postal workers as they battle Royal Mail's privatisation plans, which were clearly seen as backed by the government. The idea of a one-day public sector strike was welcomed as an important step against the government's attacks on workers' pay and conditions.

Andy Petrie spoke for many: "It's time to stop financially supporting a party that offers no support back. The idea of a new workers' party is a brilliant idea but it's a massive task ahead."

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