Socialist Worker

Post workers’ powerful strike steps up challenge

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2060

The postal workers’ strike last week was even more powerful than the one on 29 June. Royal Mail described it as patchy. Maybe it was a bit – in some places 98 percent of workers were out, in others it was as few as 95 percent!

In some areas the results were outstanding. Rounding up the situation across north London, union rep Mark announced, “Out of 22 offices, only one cluster reserve worker and four non-members have gone in. All CWU members are on strike.”

In most areas more people were on strike than last time, and more were picketing. Again we saw the involvement of young workers alongside the more established militants.

The mood of anger against management is growing. Brian Brookes, CWU Birmingham and district amal branch chair, told Socialist Worker on the picket line, “The staff I’ve spoken to – people I’ve known for over 20 years – are seriously annoyed.

Derisory

“Regardless of the derisory pay offer and considerable strings, they’re furious at the considerable disrespect shown by the business and their chief

executive officers.

“It doubly nauseates them that they are constantly bombarded with messages about ‘dignity and respect at work’ which is preached, but clearly not practiced, by their so-called betters.”

Even areas where Royal Mail hoped to stem the action came out strongly. Mick Fitzmaurice, CWU area safety rep, reports, “Royal Mail’s National Distribution Centre (NDC) at Crick, Northamptonshire, is regarded as the postal ‘jewel in the crown’. And it was 97 percent out!

“Crick is a crucial office. It was set up with around 80 percent of the workforce as new employees, with no postal or trade union background.

“Royal Mail was convinced that we would never mount a successful strike at the NDC, but we have proved them wrong.”

Unhappy

A “battlebus” organised by the CWU London division toured picket lines across the capital. It carved a class line across the city as many workers and students waved greetings, gave a thumbs up or sounded their horns in support.

Only a few sour-faced richer types looked unhappy.

As we swept down the exclusive Park Lane the liveried doorkeeper at the Dorchester Hotel had a quick look round to see if anyone was watching – and then gave us a big thumbs up.

The final stop for the bus was a demonstration at the Old Street headquarters of Royal Mail. Around 500 postal workers angrily protested at their managers and demanded that they lift the attacks and start negotiations.

The loudest cheers during the speeches were when CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said there is “a heavy responsibility on the people who really run the post office – the government.

“It’s just not acceptable that we have a bloody Labour government doing nothing while Allan Leighton and Adam Crozier get away with wrecking our industry.”

For full coverage, including dozens of reports and pictures, go to

» Post workers shut down Royal Mail in second first class strike


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