At least 43,000 post workers across Britain will join regional strikes in a massive show of strength on Tuesday of next week.
Activists in the CWU union believe it will be a taste of things to come if workers vote for a national strike.
“The managers are on the ropes. Our regional strikes have already hit them harder than they thought possible. Now we need tough national action to finish them off.”
That is what Johnny Hunt from the Essex branch of the CWU union is telling his members at meetings to discuss the national ballot, which closes on 8 October.
“The response has been really good—from the big mail centres to the small delivery offices, everyone seems to be up for it,” he told Socialist Worker.
“By taking one day of strike action across Essex we created a backlog that lasted for at least a week. That means everyone here has a sense of their power.”
In order to keep up the pressure, Essex is now strictly implementing the union’s Do the Job Safely campaign.
“That means no more starting early, no using your own car, no working through your breaks,” says Johnny.
“In the past we’ve offered the company a moratorium on strike action if they would withdraw their unagreed changes to our jobs. But they’ve rejected that.
“It’s clear that the only thing they understand is tough action. So we must not take our foot off the gas. The local action must continue.”
Tony Bouch, branch secretary of Plymouth CWU, agrees and says that the key to winning a big yes vote in the national ballot is getting “face to face” with members.
“I’m all in favour of text messages and emails, but as a rep it’s vital that you hold meetings and answer people’s questions,” he says.
“Our plan has been to take on two issues a week—like pay or pensions.”
Tony says that people are enthusiastic when they hear talk of a serious strategy for national action.
“People in my area want some payback,” he told Socialist Worker.
“Management are getting vicious and our reps are being targeted by them all the time. When I do unit meetings, our members are always demanding a tough response, and I agree with them.”
Everyone in the union knows that this is going to be a crucial battle that will determine the shape of the industry and the role of the union within it.
Activists must ensure the backlog—built-up through weeks of local action—is not wasted by holding back future local strikes.
Before any meaningful talks, the company must withdraw its job cuts and arbitrary changes to workers’ terms and conditions.
And, in order to win the biggest possible yes vote, it is crucial the union shows that strikes are not just a bargaining chip to be used in talks with Royal Mail bosses.
They are a weapon to hit back at the bullies who are making postal workers’ lives a misery.