Socialist Worker

Postal workers vote for national strike action

by Charlie Kimber in Bournemouth
Issue No. 2054

CWU union executive member Lesley McLean, who was at an equality conference with Royal Mail boss Allan Leighton, helpfully shows him the ballot result

CWU union executive member Lesley McLean, who was at an equality conference with Royal Mail boss Allan Leighton, helpfully shows him the ballot result


Postal workers across Britain in all sectors of the industry have voted overwhelmingly for a strike to defend their living standards and the postal service.

Some 77 percent of postal workers who voted backed strike action in their dispute with Royal Mail over the company’s 2.5 percent pay offer. The turnout was 67 percent.

The vote was so overwhelming that the majority of workers at every Royal Mail branch in the country voted to strike.

Delegates at the CWU union conference in Bournemouth exploded with cheers and applause when the ballot result was announced to a packed hall.

CWU leaders made clear that they will return to the employers seeking further talks. But they also made clear that unless there is an acceptable settlement, the first national postal strike for over a decade is very much on the cards.

Outgoing chair of the CWU postal executive Pat O’Hara condemned Royal Mail boss Allan Leighton for saying that the envisaged strike would be “bloody” and comparing it to the miners’ strike of 1984-5.

O’Hara said that such comments would be unacceptable from any government – but were particularly outrageous from a Labour government.

The potential now exists for combined strikes between postal and other workers against Gordon Brown’s imposition of pay limits on public sector workers. His below inflation wage freeze means an effective cut in wages for millions across Britain.

Postal workers are strong on their own – but they will be much more powerful if they strike alongside others.

“This is a brilliant result which shows that all sections of the postal workforce have defied intense pressure from management and shown their faith in the union,” said incoming CWU president Jane Loftus, speaking in a personal capacity.

“It is now clear that we need a pay rise above inflation, withdrawal of the company’s business plan, a halt to privatisation and no more post office or mail centre closures.

“The government should be telling management to implement such measures and it is time for Allan Leighton and Adam Crozier to go.”


Vote for strike action

sectionyes% yesno% no
Royal Mail66,06477.519,11922.5
Post Office Limited2,70073.099327.0
Cash in Transit54566.028334.0


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