Socialist Worker

Diary of a postal striker in the north: History lessons

Issue No. 2172

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As we received texts telling us of Royal Mail’s attempts to run a major scabbing operation around the country, many of us on the picket line last week were reminded of the 1980s.

If like me, you lived through those times, you will probably remember it for the Miners’ Strike and the way that Margaret Thatcher’s dictatorship tried to smash our unions.

Parallels can be drawn between Thatcher then and the way Gordon Brown’s government is treating postal workers today – they’ve both allowed millions to be spent on breaking a union, and both installed hatchet men to do their dirty work.

Ian MacGregor was shipped in to do over the miners and close the pits, and Royal Mail chief Adam Crozier was brought in to smash our CWU union.

McGregor had his review system for the collieries that was supposedly to look at their “financial viability”, but for every review that took place a mine was closed, jobs lost and families broken.

Crozier has his review system, which is nothing but a sham name for closure. He’s closed 3,000 post offices and is now embarking on the closure of many mail centres as well.

Now Crozier, imitating McGregor, wants a scabbing operation to break our strikes.

Isn’t it time to learn a lesson from history?

Crozier’s vision of “modernisation” means cutting pay, slashing jobs and closing offices – and if we let him get away with it there will fat bonuses all around for those at the top, while postal workers will gain nothing but more financial devastation.

We have in place a legal national ballot that should ensure we are listened to. But if our union leaders fail us, we must consider further action – with or without the say so of the leadership. 

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