Postal workers could start a national strike later this year after delegates at last week’s CWU union conference voted unanimously for action against attacks on their pensions, threats to shut scores of offices, and the menace of privatisation.
The CWU estimates that around 40,000 jobs are at risk from management plans.
Deputy general secretary Dave Ward told delegates that the government’s liberalisation of the postal service stood behind the attacks.
“We know that we can’t simply strike our way out of this situation – and that there must be a political solution to the problems we face – but if management don’t back off, we will ballot for strike action,” he said.
He added that the timetable for the strike “will be designed to maximise pressure on the company and the government”, but that the union would offer talks before a ballot is implemented.
Bob Gibson, the CWU assistant secretary outdoor, said that the coming dispute would be even more important than last year’s.
In closed session several delegates warned the union’s leadership not to flag up compromises before the start of any negotiations.
One delegate, referring to the emergency motion presented by the union’s postal executive, asked, “Is this a charter for peace or for war?”
Another said, “We should strike during Labour’s conference in September and organise the biggest possible protest march at the conference. Then our action could become the focus for millions of other workers facing similar attacks.”
Dave Ward replied approvingly, saying that it would be great if the union mobilised 20,000 postal workers to go to Manchester during Labour’s conference.
It is expected that the union will initiate a ballot for strike action in August, with action likely from September onwards.