Socialist Worker

Post workers join the growing pay revolt

by Paul Garraway, CWU union member, South Central No1 branch
Issue No. 2050

Royal Mail bosses want to cut our living standards and make us work much harder. And we’re not having it.

Bosses have come up with what they call a “full and final offer” of a 2.5 percent increase on basic pay or a non-pensionable and taxable £600 lump sum as an alternative to the basic pay increase.

Whatever version gets chosen, we’ll be worse off.

Inflation is officially running at 4.8 percent, so a 2.5 percent increase really means a pay cut of over 2 percent.

This week the company unveiled its phoney shares scheme. If we make sufficient cuts, and accept mass job reductions, then we will get “colleague shares”.

This is a five year plan of pretend shares linked to Royal Mail’s performance. It doesn’t pay out until the end of the five years – and nothing is guaranteed.

It’s a rotten bribe that tries to shift people’s loyalties from each other and the union to the employer – and to soften us up for privatisation.

And if that weren’t bad enough, we’re also expected to accept 22 conditions that will make the job worse.

In some cases we would be expected to do work as part of our normal duties that presently we get extra money for.

The delivery of further “door to door” items (what most people call junk mail) would no longer mean extra payment, and neither would delivering election material.

During some parts of the year five workers will be expected to do the work of six.

Royal Mail bosses say they will accept pay restraint themselves – but we could all do that if we got their salaries!

Adam Crozier, Royal Mail group chief executive, got £1,038,000 last year.

Post bosses were meeting our union this week for one more round of talks before the strike ballot starts.

We shouldn’t accept anything less than a basic pay rise above inflation – without strings.

Royal Mail tell us that we’re not badly off compared to other workers, but the latest statistics show that 75 percent of workers in Britain get paid more than postal workers. We need better pay, not pay cuts!


Royal Mail are also after our pension scheme. They’re exaggerating the deficit to panic us.

We’ve earned the pension, now we have to defend it for ourselves and future workers.

Gordon Brown is attacking everybody in the public sector by imposing a pay limit. We all need to fight together.

If we come out then we could appeal for joint action with the civil service workers.

We have to start the campaign for action now – with section meetings, gate meetings, branch meetings and a flood of information to counter Royal Mail’s lies.

Postal workers still have real economic power. When we stop working it has a real effect on the big firms who use the mail.

But we’ll be much more powerful if we are part of a bigger public sector rebellion.

And, after their election defeats, the government is in no condition to face down determined and united resistance.

This attack over pay, on top of the government encouraging private firms to take away our work, should make every postal worker question why we still give money to the Labour Party.

For us, New Labour means hard labour.

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Article information

Tue 8 May 2007, 18:20 BST
Issue No. 2050
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