Royal Mail is spending thousands of pounds a week in an effort to break a postal workers’ strike at the Burslem delivery office in Stoke. Now the CWU postal workers’ union is threatening to spread the strike across the Midlands region.
More than 200 managers from across Britain are being bussed into the office in an attempt to undermine the strike, which began before Christmas.
Bosses have sacked or suspended 12 workers from the Burslem office, and have particularly targeted union reps.
Around 100 workers have responded by taking all out strike action, and plan to stay out until at least the end of January.
“This fight is about the right to an effective trade union at work, and the national implications are massive,” says Lee Barron, the CWU’s Midlands secretary.
“How are we supposed to talk to our employers about modernisation and new working practices when they are intent on breaking the union?”
Support for the Burslem strike has been pouring in from across the country, with delegations of CWU members travelling to the picket lines with thousands of pounds in donations.
“The mood of the strikers is determined, with more than 60 strikers on the picket line every morning,” says Lee. “The strike has been bolstered by the solidarity that has been expressed.
“We have collected more than £40,000 so far, meaning that every striker has been paid almost all of their basic pay at Christmas.”
As Socialist Worker went to press it was expected that the CWU will endorse a strike ballot in support of Burslem across the Stoke area. There are also plans to spread the action across the entire Midlands region.
“It is clear that management are taking a hard line,” says Lee. “But we can be hard too.
“Around the country there are scores of CWU activists who are facing disciplinary action as a result of our national strike. We cannot allow management to start picking off our members.
“The CWU has organised a national demonstration in Stoke on Saturday 19 January. I would like to see delegations and union banners from across the country at the protest.”
Demonstrate in support of the Burslem strikers, 1pm, Saturday 19 January, Burslem delivery office, Scotia Business Park, Scotia Road, Stoke on Trent ST6
Send donations and messages of support to Lee Barron, CWU Midlands regional secretary, 46-48 Summer Lane, Birmingham B19. Email firstname.lastname@example.org