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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 September 2009

Warrington mail centre

Over 200 drivers were on official strike last week at the Royal Mail's north west regional distribution centre in a dispute over imposed changes to shift patterns.

Andy Ford, Warrington trades council

Private hauliers and agency drivers were crossing the CWU picket line, although some lorries did turn back. Several agency drivers told pickets that they had been told they faced the sack if they did not cross. On the other hand some have apparently been told that if they cross the picket lines they will be guaranteed another two months work.

"I don't want to be here mate, but I'll be sacked if I don't do it", pleaded one agency driver, but he got short shrift from angry CWU members.

They called: "Go on, just get off. We're fighting for our future here."

One worker, who did not want to be named, explained the background. "Every year the work patterns and shifts are reviewed, and the changes are negotiated.

"But this year when they didn't get agreement they have just gone for 'executive action', no agreement, nothing. They want to put the names in a hat, and assign the shifts - earlies, lates or nights - more or less at random. And if your name's not picked in the three shifts, then you'll be on a float shift, covering any shift they say. We run on seniority here - as you stay here longer, you can move to the shifts that suit you. And they want to rip all that up."

"It's going back to the old days, like on the docks," said another picket. "At least under our old system you could plan ahead, you could have a life, but they just want to assign you wherever and whenever they want."

The effect of the anti-union laws are being felt: "Royal Mail don't want to settle the dispute, all they do is look for legal angles to trip the union up".

Strikers complained of petty bullying in the depot. "The job's nothing like it was. We used to have a bit of banter. Now you just turn up and go through the motions. The managers here have been told to rule with a big stick. But it's management out of business college, not the real world.

"They flooded the place out with agency workers, so they went over budget, now they're trying to make the money back off us."

The strikers were determined and bitter. "The way we've been treated is unbelievable - after 23, 25, 28 year's service. It's all changed."

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In The Socialist 22 September 2009:

No cuts in public services

Prepare political challenge to cuts agenda


Education

Higher education - cuts cuts cuts!

Universities in crisis - Join Socialist Students

Defend education - stop the 2 billion cuts in spending


TUC

Brown declares war on workers

TUC congress: Anger on the fringes, inaction at the top


War and occupation

Afghanistan: An unwinnable war


Postal workers strike

Postal workers strike as national ballot continues

Warrington mail centre


Vestas

Vestas workers determined to continue fight for jobs


Youth fight for jobs

Youth unemployment hits record level

Future Jobs Fund - massaging the figures


Socialist Party news and analysis

Campaign for a Salford workers' MP

Energy rip-off

Threat to Coventry homeless


International socialist news

Socialist Party MEP denounces "campaign of fear" on Lisbon Treaty

Workers' fightback grows in Italy


Socialist Party workplace news

Engineering construction: Stewards' forum recommends bosses' offer Workers should reject!

Portsmouth shipbuilders vote for strike

Bosses ask JCB workers for sacrifice

Battle over pensions means strike threat at Corus

Liverpool bin workers score victory


Socialist Party reviews

Listening to Grasshoppers by Arundhati Roy

The Dirty Thirty - Heroes of the Miners' Strike

The Anti-Flag album 'The People or the Gun'


 

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Related links:

Warrington:

triangleArriva bus strikers stand firm

triangleWarrington Socialist Party: The battle of Winwick Quay

triangleWarrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangleWarrington & St Helens Socialist Party: Nationalisation and workers' control explained

Royal Mail:

triangleRoyal Mail forced back under threat of action

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangleSet for national strike action

CWU:

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleCWU strike ballot to win 'Four Pillars'

Agency workers:

triangleBin workers - fighting back wins!

triangleStreet cleaners support the Birmingham bin strike

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