Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/506/3289

From The Socialist newspaper, 17 October 2007

Editorial

Postal workers waiting to assess Royal Mail deal

On Friday 12 October a deal between the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) leaders and Royal Mail was struck against a background of unofficial action in Scotland, Liverpool and East London. Final agreement is dependent on the approval of the CWU postal executive which is still meeting as the socialist goes to press, followed by a ballot of CWU members.

On the basis of leaked reports it seems likely that the deal will not meet the demands that postal workers have been fighting for. If this is the case then it should be opposed by the union executive.

It appears that Royal Mail will still make some attacks on pensions such as ending the current final salary scheme but in 'consultation' with the union.

They will continue to argue for the retirement age to increase from 60 to 65 years.

It seems that a pay rise, due in April, will now start in October and be 5.4%, with another 1.5% next April and a one-off payment of 175. However because this year's increase will not be backdated to April, this would in effect be a below-inflation increase of 3% over 12 months.

The deal may be giving Royal Mail the chance to still push ahead with attacks on postal workers' conditions, only on a local basis rather than national.

If this is the case, it will be much harder for the national union to fight against such changes, as the firefighters' union has found in the recent period.

Determined action

After eight national strike days involving much hardship, which started at the end of June, plus many others at local level, Royal Mail may have budged very little from its original plan.

Following near solid national action during two 48-hour strikes, many postal workers returned to work on Wednesday 10 October only to find that management were trying to implement later start times, even though there had been no agreement with the union on any changes. Workers also discovered that four days' pay lost due to strike action over two separate weeks was deducted from one week. Because workers were not informed of this, many went overdrawn in their bank accounts.

This action, combined with intimidation and harassment from management led to walkouts in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Livingston and Edinburgh. Strikes spread quickly, especially across London and Liverpool through to Friday and Saturday. Liverpool and parts of London were still taking unofficial strike action on Monday 15 October and 2,500 postal workers in Liverpool were still out on Tuesday.

News of union reps being victimised, disciplined and suspended were being reported within the union. Any deal must include an end to victimisation and the re-instatement of all victimised workers.

Adam Crozier, the chief executive of Royal Mail on 2.4 million a year, decided to turn up to the final talks. While they were underway, Royal Mail turned to the anti-trade union laws and went to the courts to gain an injunction against the union to stop the planned sectional strikes on Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 October.

They argued that the strikes were not legal because the union had not declared the correct number of workers who would be taking part in action on those two days.

These two sectional strikes would have meant the largest sections of the postal service walking out the sorting and delivery offices.

Court injunction

With unofficial action having a major effect on the already huge backlog of mail and with postal workers ready to take part in more official action, this injunction should have been defied, with the CWU calling on other unions for support.

The union should not have continued with negotiations once the injunction was threatened.

Throughout the negotiations Royal Mail carried out changes to working conditions and victimised postal workers, especially union reps. Workers should not be left alone to be harassed by management in their individual workplaces they must be supported nationally by the union.

Brown made it clear he is on the side of the Royal Mail management by saying that there is "no justification" for the strike, while John Hutton government 'business secretary' - believed that Royal Mail's original offer was "decent and fair".

After all it was Labour who de-regulated the postal service, opening it up to competition from big business.

And yet the CWU donated over 500,000 to the Labour Party between June 2006 and June 2007! Money was paid over at a time when government-owned Royal Mail was announcing plans of a below-inflation pay increase, worse conditions and job losses.

The CWU should stop funding Labour for good and disaffiliate from the Labour Party. None of the three big business parties have spoken out in favour of the Royal Mail workers, which shows the crucial need for a political voice for working-class people.

If the CWU loses this dispute then Royal Mail workers will see their working conditions and pensions pushed back and union organisation within the postal service seriously threatened. The post service provided for the public will be massively worsened.

This dispute is also crucial for all trade unionists. If this battle is won it would be a spur to other crucial battles in the public sector against low pay and attacks on conditions.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 17 October 2007:

National Health Service Cutbacks and privatisation kill

National NHS demo

The vultures are circling ever closer

10,000 march in Sussex

Swansea fights the cuts

Rally for Socialism


Postal dispute

Exposing Royal Mail's lies

Postal workers waiting to assess Royal Mail deal

Fighting Royal Mail management's attacks

Solid unofficial action in East London

National Shop Stewards' Network meetings

Daylight robbery in Scotland!

Save Bolsover Post Offices


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Brown's blues


International Appeal

Students on trumped-up charges


Socialist Students

Scrap fees for all students


National Shop Stewards Network

Young workers and students need to get involved

"You've got to stick together"

Stop the placement rip-off now!


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Tony Benn evades the issue


Trade Union Freedom Bill

Trade Union Freedom Bill: Banishing Thatcher's anti-union legacy?

Working longer hours for less pay


Socialist Party women

ITV2 - making a good deal out of women's bodies


International socialist news and analysis

Workers' struggle and political instability sends Polish government into meltdown

Australia: Liberals v Labour - no choice for working people in election


Socialist Party news and analysis

Children's homes at risk of buy-outs


 

Home   |   The Socialist 17 October 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Postal dispute:

triangleCorona crisis brings new issues into the postal dispute

Postal workers:

trianglePostal workers' action results in double victory for union

trianglePostal workers force Royal Mail back

trianglePostal workers' anger over profits before health and safety

triangleCollective action becoming necessary to ensure safety and vital deliveries

CWU:

trianglePosties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive

triangleRoyal Mail dispute: Interview with a CWU branch secretary

triangleCoronavirus workplace news in brief

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

29/5/20

Labour

Lessons from the Corbyn experience

27/5/20

TUC

Covid crisis boosts union membership but TUC leaders want to cosy up to the bosses!

27/5/20

Coronavirus

Reckless, lying cheats

26/5/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus pandemic news in brief

26/5/20

Coronavirus

More blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

26/5/20

Coronavirus

United action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan

25/5/20

Coronavirus

Care home workers suffer PPE shortage and job loss fears

22/5/20

Coronavirus

Black and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality

20/5/20

Coronavirus

Johnson's reckless 'back to school' plans threaten everyone's safety

20/5/20

Coronavirus

Confidence plummets in Tory strategy for Covid-19

20/5/20

Benefits

Universal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

20/5/20

Covid

Furlough cut-off could force millions back to unsafe workplaces

20/5/20

Council

Crisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

20/5/20

Rich

Rich get handouts - workers get pay cuts

19/5/20

Coronavirus

Transport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

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

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999