Socialist Worker

Reports from London for the 13 July post strike

Across London striking workers shut down mail depots, and sorting and delivery offices. They came together in their hundreds for a demonstration outside Royal Mail headquarters in Old Street.

Issue No. 2059

Strikers at Emma Street in Hackney (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Strikers at Emma Street in Hackney (Pic: Socialist Worker)



North London

The strike was 100 percent solid at Highbury in Islington, North London. There were 13 people on a confident picket line out of fewer than 40 workers. Union rep Martin Gyan said, “They want to turn us into a part time company. If there is no work you’ll just be sitting at home.

“Mechanisation should help our work go through faster not lead to a reduced workforce.”

“Our future is at risk. If management get away with this it won’t be good for the workforce or our customers.

“They don’t seem serious about talking. I think we need to step things up. Maybe we should strike for two days, perhaps a Friday and a Monday.”

Workers on the picket line felt that this related to issues that affect all public sector workers like low pay and trouble finding housing. One picket was living with his parents as he couldn’t afford to move out.

Martin added, “I think things will be hard for the government if it tries to keep to this wage limit.”


Paddington

An impressive picket line was waiting for Royal Mail bosses at Paddington delivery office and West London Mail Centre. Workers were eager to take the fight to Gordon Brown and agreed that going on strike with the PCS in the future would be essential to win.

Confidence was high as the sight of a manager trying to find his way to deliver a couple of mail bags was clearly comical and a sign that Royal Mail bosses and managers clearly haven’t got a clue when it comes to running the post office.


South London

The Nine Elms mail centre and delivery office in Vauxhall, south London saw vibrant picket lines.

Greg a CWU rep told Socialist Worker, “It’s important the strike makes a big impact and it has been very solid.

“There has been a lot of determination to win this dispute. People are considering how we step up the action

“The strike is very strong. We have had new people joining the union right up till the strike started.”

“We’ve had people coming from other unions to visit us, and in the last few weeks I’ve spoken at PCS, UCU and GMB union meetings. This shows the potential for working together.”


West London

At Greenford the picket line was noisy and very lively. Post workers were beeping horns and had banners and a barbecue – and it felt very strong, very solid.

There were around 15 workers on the picket line on Friday morning. Local Respect candidate in the up coming parliamentary by election, Salvinder Dhillon came and spoke to workers on the picket line and was well received.

At the Ealing picket line a delegation from the local Unison branch went down with messages of support.

In general the mood has been great, with people discussing what to do next and angry at the things that management have been saying in the press.

John Cooper


North East London

Delegations from local Unison branches visited post workers’ picket lines at delivery offices in Walthamstow and South Woodford in North East London this morning.

A delegation from Waltham Forest Unison, including the branch chair, took their branch banner and £20 from a workplace collection to the picket line in Walthamstow.

The branch secretary of London Fire Authority Unison visited the picket line in South Woodford with a local school student. He brought the branch banner with him and presented an official cheque for £50 and letter of support to the CWU rep.

The strike was more solid than on the previous strike day with no managers or scabs at work. There were nine pickets on duty, three more than last time. The Area Safety rep reported that the strike was well supported at all other offices in the area.


East London

The strike was solid across east London, with a picket line of around 20 running through the night at the main Bow Locks mail centre.

Martin from east London reported a good, friendly atmosphere on the picket line, with workers coming off shift to join their fellow strikers around the brazier.

The scene was similar at other east London delivery offices, with picket lines of 20 at Burdett Road, 12 at Whitechapel and ten at Vicarage Lane. The atmosphere was confident with a good turnout – and management were avoiding confrontation.

The picket lines were visited throughout the day by delegations and representatives of other public sector workers, including a group of local teachers that visited the Burdett Road office in the morning.

The Emma Street office in Hackney, east London was extremely quiet as the solid strike bit. Bored-looking managers hung around at the gate with little to do.

Richard Kesless, the CWU rep at the office, told Socialist Worker, “We are more determined than before as we have realised that Royal Mail is not listening.

“It made it worse when we found out how much bonuses managers get.

“Allan Leighton doesn’t know how hard it is to deliver mail. Now management are trying to come for our pension scheme.

“If management don’t do anything we will need to come out, maybe even for two or three days. They can afford to pay the managers, why not the workers.”


Croydon

The strike was pretty solid across Croydon, with only 35 going in across the area, mainly from delivery offices. The best offices were East Croydon main office and Beddington Lane sorting office where only a couple went in.

Picketing in Bromley (Pic: Bea Leal)

Picketing in Bromley (Pic: Bea Leal)


On the picket line at Paddington (Pic: Christophe Chataigne )

On the picket line at Paddington (Pic: Christophe Chataigne )



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