Why have Post Office managers felt confident enough to move towards 40,000 job losses and the destruction of Parcelforce? One big reason has to be the behaviour of the CWU leaders last week. They met to discuss the possibility of holding a one-day strike over pay on Wednesday this week.
John Keggie, the CWU deputy general secretary, told the postal executive that he had received threats from Jerry Cope, Royal Mail's managing director. Cope said that if a strike was announced he would withdraw the pay offer. He also stated that strike action 'could lead to the closure of Parcelforce and the possibility of compulsory redundancy'.
Faced with this blackmail the union leaders ran away. The majority of the executive approved dropping a 24-hour strike by 150,000 workers and replacing it with a 15-minute 'strike' by the union's 350 area representatives.
Royal Mail has announced huge job losses anyway. The union is facing a crisis. Postal workers face mass job losses, the threat of privatisation, and a pay deal linked to speed-ups and 'flexibility'. If there is no serious action soon then one of the best organised and most militant sections of the British working class could suffer defeats. But it is completely unnecessary to go down this road.
Every activist must demand that the CWU leaders call strikes over pay and, whatever the law says, also raise the issues of job losses and privatisation during those strikes. There has to be a massive campaign of strikes and political agitation to create a crisis for New Labour. Millions will be on the side of the postal workers if they fight.
London postal workers are moving towards a ballot over the cases of Mick and Tom Doherty. They are the north London CWU members who were sacked for alleged football violence but then unanimously exonerated by employment tribunals. The Post Office has refused to re-employ the two men. Disgracefully, the three managers involved in the case have all subsequently been promoted.