Postal delegates at the CWU union conference were set to discuss proposals for a national strike against attacks on pensions, mail centre and delivery office closures, and the threat of further privatisation of Royal Mail as Socialist Worker went to press.
Earlier this year Royal Mail closed its final salary pension scheme and introduced a new career average scheme.
This means increased employee contributions for smaller benefits, and an increase in the retirement age.
Since then the closure of dozens of mail centres has been announced, raising the possibility that thousands of postal workers will lose their jobs.
Delegates argue that the government’s “liberalisation” of the postal industry has caused Royal Mail to enter into financial crisis, and this is what is driving many of the attacks that the union currently faces.
The CWU’s postal executive has tabled a motion that calls for a campaign of strike action that rolls the issues together into “one big fight”.
If the motion is successful, a nationwide ballot will start during the summer, with strike action possible in the autumn.
Further motions will seek confirmation of a strike and national demonstration during Labour’s September conference.
Delegates greeted sacked union activists from Burslem, in Stoke, with a prolonged standing ovation after they spoke out about how management has attempted to smash the union at their office.
The National Appeals Panel is currently considering whether three union reps, and three former union reps, were unfairly dismissed earlier this year, with a verdict expected in August.
The CWU has launched a national appeal on behalf of the sacked activists so that they can be paid their wages while they await the appeal’s outcome.
One of the sacked union activists, who cannot be named, told Socialist Worker, “Royal Mail hope they can break the union at Burslem.
“This financial appeal helps give us peace of mind because we know that we will be able to keep putting food on the table while we keep up the fight with the company.”
Send donations to Lee Barron, Midlands regional secretary, CWU offices, Lindsey Street, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 4EP. Cheques payable to CWU Midland No 7