Socialist Worker

Build solidarity with Burslem post workers

by Lee Baron, CWU Midlands regional secretary
Issue No. 2134

While the government embarks on a collision course with the labour movement with its plans to privatise Royal Mail, it seems that the company is intent on stoking conflict with the union by victimising activists.

At the end of last year we heard the news that an appeal has upheld the sacking of two CWU union members at the Burslem delivery office in Stoke-on-Trent.

During the national dispute of 2007, Royal Mail managers targeted the union at the Burslem office because of its strong traditions of solidarity.

They hoped that by putting longstanding reps and activists through disciplinary procedures they could weaken those traditions.

The opposite has been true.

CWU members at Burslem have been unflinching in their support for those under attack and have received massive backing from branches across the country.

At a local, regional and national level the union is preparing to continue to back those who have been sacked.


Twelve members were originally suspended over a year ago.

Of these six returned to duty early last year, one has been reinstated following appeal, two members have now had dismissals confirmed and three members are still awaiting appeals.

Employment Tribunals have been lodged for the two members whose dismissals have been confirmed and we are confident that our case is so strong that any truly independent panel will find for reinstatement.

Recent experience of such tribunals in Bristol show that justice can prevail.

In addition the union is giving consideration to other industrial initiatives following meetings which have been arranged directly with the affected members.

The CWU is about to enter a decisive period in which the future of Royal Mail will be decided.

It is vital that all our activists can carry out their duties confident that their union can protect them and that they can count on the support of the wider union movement should they face attack.

Send messages of support to Lee Baron, Midlands region secretary, 46-48 Summer Lane, Birmingham B19 3TH, or send an email to [email protected]

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Article information

Tue 13 Jan 2009, 18:37 GMT
Issue No. 2134
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