Thousands of postal workers from across London struck for 24 hours today as part of a fight against attempts by Royal Mail to ram through thousands of job losses and attacks on working conditions.
Around 11,000 members of the postal workers’ CWU union joined the action. With most offices completely shut, reps across the capital report that only a handful of members have crossed picket lines.
The CWU announced this week that it intends to broaden the recent wave of action—which has so far involved Anglia, Bristol and the south west of England, Edinburgh and the east of Scotland, and parts of the Midlands, including the national distribution centre at Crick—by balloting the whole country for strikes.
In addition to the action in London, workers at Stoke mail centre yesterday began an official indefinite strike against the closure of their office. They were soon joined by workers from delivery offices across the city who refused to cross their picket lines and instead began an unofficial strike.
This morning delivery workers at Stoke voted by a narrow margin to return to work tomorrow, while those at the mail centre are determined to maintain their strike.
News of the national ballot and reports of strike action in Stoke bolstered pickets across London.
Union rep Dave Morrison from London’s N1 sorting office told Socialist Worker that the mood in his office was deeply contradictory.
“On the one hand everyone hates being at work at the moment,” he said. “The level of bullying, combined with a new system of deliveries that managers are trying to impose has got everyone down.
“But when we’re out here on strike, it’s a different story. Support for the union is higher than ever. This office is rock solid and management know it.
“That’s why they’ve flooded us with managers from across London. They want to break our resolve and hope that if they can crack N1, they can crack the whole of north London and ultimately the whole of London too.
“Frankly, they haven’t a chance.”
A further 24 hour stoppage is scheduled for next week—with some offices striking on Monday and others on Wednesday—when workers in London will be joined by network drivers at a number of mail centres and by delivery workers in many parts of the country.