Socialist Worker

Solidarity for sacked Woolwich postal worker

Issue No. 2145

Standing up against sackings in Woolwich

Standing up against sackings in Woolwich

Postal workers in Woolwich, south London, delivered a massive show of solidarity to a sacked colleague by taking strike action on Tuesday this week.

Around 50 workers out of an office of just 85 took to the early morning picket line and brought postal services in the area to a standstill.

The dispute centres on a delivery worker who was dismissed shortly before Christmas last year. The postal workers' CWU union strongly disputes the evidence used against the worker.

CWU branch secretary Roy Vargerson told Socialist Worker that further strike action will take place on Easter Saturday.

'We can't put up with bullying and harassment anymore,' he said. 'This fight has come from the workers themselves – it's solidarity in action. It's the members that have told the union to act.'

Many on the picket line felt that the climate of fear being generated by Royal Mail management would get worse if the service were privatised.

'We are very concerned about the prospect of companies like TNT coming in and running our service – it is a real threat to jobs,' said Roy. 'But all this talk of British jobs for British workers is nonsense.

'I remember my brother-in-law going away to work in Germany. They never talk that way about people from Britain going to other countries to work.

The CWU's London divisional rep Martin Walsh was on hand to offer the support of the wider union. He told Socialist Worker that the union is determined to win reinstatement for the sacked worker.

He also explained that postal workers across London could soon be part of a battle over job cuts. 'We are balloting all of London for action on Royal Mail's savings and modernisation plans,' he said.

'We have been holding meetings across the city and we will deliver a massive yes vote. We want to strike for permanent full time jobs and a shorter working week – and we are looking at going out on strike with London Underground workers too.

Edmonton delivery workers strike

Delivery workers at the Upper Edmonton delivery office in north London struck solidly on Saturday of last week for a second time this month.

They are fighting an attempt by Royal Mail to introduce new 35-hour week contracts for people starting at the office without union agreement. This will mean extra work for all those on the existing 40‑hour contracts – and less pay for all new starters.

The north London branch of the CWU has agreed to ballot the whole area for strike action in support of their colleagues.

That ballot has been put on hold until the national union decides whether it is to authorise a London-wide ballot for strikes against Royal Mail plans to force through job cuts.

On the picket line in Edmonton (see story below) (Pic: Charlie Kimber)

On the picket line in Edmonton (see story below) (Pic: Charlie Kimber)

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Tue 31 Mar 2009, 20:31 BST
Issue No. 2145
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