Socialist Worker

Postal workers to protest at Labour Party conference

by Yuri Prasad
Issue No. 2116

The CWU union has finalised plans for a demonstration of postal workers at this year's Labour Party conference in Manchester.

The march will bring together workers from across the country in opposition to attacks on pensions, the threat of privatisation and the closure of offices and mail centres.

By 'liberalising' the postal industry, the government has allowed a swathe of private firms to collect and sort bulk mail, while forcing Royal Mail to deliver it at a financial loss.

The result has been a crisis for the company, which is responding with a range of attacks on workers – including the abolition of their final salary pension scheme. Rather than reducing an overlong working week, new technology being introduced at offices around the country also threatens a cull of jobs.

The CWU is also angry that Royal Mail has breached agreements with the union as part of its plan to close mail centres. In areas where closures have been announced – including the Midlands, Oxford, and the north west of England – branches

are currently requesting strike ballots.

Dave Kennedy, secretary of Northwest Central CWU, in Stockport, told Socialist Worker that the demonstration is an opportunity to galvanise those who are eager to see the union fighting the closure plans.

'Our mail centre is one of those that is threatened. We are meeting all our reps today to start preparing our response. The demonstration in Manchester will be a chance to launch that campaign,' he said.

The CWU has asked every region to send a significant delegation to the protest and is organising a campaign that combines political and industrial action to defeat Royal Mail's plans.

The CWU's march in defence of a publicly owned postal service is on Monday 22 September and assembles at 11.30am at Castlefield, off Rice Street.

Bristol 3

Postal workers in south west England were hoping for a resolution to the long running case of the 'Bristol 3' – CWU union members who were sacked after last year's national strike.

Following an impressive campaign, Royal Mail managers have agreed that two of the three will return to work at offices near to where they live.

The company had previous offered one of the three a job that would have involved a 60-mile round trip to work.

David Wilshire, Bristol CWU branch secretary, told Socialist Worker that management were being forced to respond to growing pressure from the union.

'We will continue to fight until all three are back at work,' he said. 'We are taking the last of the cases to an Employment Tribunal at the end of September. I hope that we will have a resolution to this before then.'

Send messages of solidarity to

Defend Simon Furze

National CWU union officials have written to Royal Mail to insist that the sacking of Simon Furze, a union rep at the Leicester North delivery office, be referred to the semi-independent National Appeals Panel.

Simon is a high profile rep who has been prepared to fight hard to defend his members' terms and conditions. As a result he has repeatedly faced management threats and intimidation.

He was sacked after an honest mistake that would often result in a verbal or written warning.

The determined way in which the national union has decided to take up his case is a reflection of the strength of feeling in Leicester, where postal workers and local trade unionists have joined two protests outside Simon's delivery office.

Send messages of solidarity to Simon Furze at

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Article information

Tue 26 Aug 2008, 20:58 BST
Issue No. 2116
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