Socialist Worker

Post strike: ‘We’ve got this far by sticking together’

After last week’s strikes were called off a number of post workers contacted Socialist Worker to say what they thought about the current state of the dispute

Issue No. 2064

Postal workers protesting outside Royal Mail headquarters during one of their strikes  (Pic:» Guy Smallman )

Postal workers protesting outside Royal Mail headquarters during one of their strikes (Pic: » Guy Smallman)

Royal mail management’s offer of negotiations and the CWU union’s decision to call off strikes set for last week has created a wide debate among postal workers’.

CWU Oxford branch representative Bob Cullen said, “This is the first time that they have agreed to negotiate around the package they have offered us rather than reiterate their position.

“If they do not seriously negotiate with us, then we only have to give a week’s notice and the strike will be back on.”

Cullen added that the backlog of thousands of parcels at the Abingdon office was “up to the roof” as staff had been concentrating on delivering smaller items of mail, although the Cowley office was relatively clear.

He said, “Some of the packets at Abingdon have been there for three weeks as there has been no overtime. There is so much mail in the pipeline nationally that it will take until the end of next week to clear.”

Another worker said, “We’ve come this far by sticking together and sticking by our union.

“Since this dispute began people have realised that it’s less stressful doing the job properly and I know our office will never be the same again as ‘goodwill’ is a thing of the past.

“If Royal Mail start giving us the run around we can ditch the talks and come back out.”

A rep from the south coast said, “It was Roal Mail boss Allan Leighton who said ‘there’s no more money’. Well Leighton, take a look at where your bully boy tactics have got you – dragged to the table.

“Management hoped there would be a drift back to work, crushing the union. What they got was just about every post worker moaning that the strikes were called off!”

Another rep said, “We showed them we are solid.

“We forced them to postpone their unilateral changes to attendance times, and we forced them to negotiate. That shows we could have forced them to retreat on their plans instead of calling the strike off part-way.”

A rep from Yorkshire said, “What brought talks is the fact that we all stood together. Remember they did not want to negotiate anything. They wanted to impose everything.”

A worker from Cambridge said, “This may be a ploy by Royal Mail to clear the backlog, but getting to the talking stage is a climb down by Royal Mail – big time. Leighton and Adam Crozier are back at the table and they will be hurting.

“Whatever comes of the talks we know what we achieved with the rolling action at the lightest time of the year.

“Royal Mail are on the back foot and we should be proud with what we have done to this point, take a breather, regroup and then be prepared if necessary to go again.”

A rep from York said, “We can still keep the pressure up by doing our jobs properly.

“I was asked by my manager to stand on a packet frame and keep an eye on the agency staff they had put on there sorting. I simply replied I would rather not as training staff isn’t proper to my grade.

“She backed off, then asked us to take our break at the end of the shift. We said no, and that we’d like to have our normal dinner.

“If we withdraw our good will, which is what gets stuff out of the offices and through front doors, we can keep this up for a good while and keep the pressure on them.”

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