Socialist Worker

New Royal Mail leaked letter shows management intransigence

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2174

A letter leaked to Socialist Worker reveals that, despite management and government claims, it is Royal Mail that is preventing negotiations, not the CWU union.

During talks yesterday, management put forward a series of proposals at the last minute that meant that any negotiation would be based on an abject surrender by the CWU.

The company claims it had made a “reasoned and sensible” proposal that would have averted the strike.

Mark Higson, managing director of Royal Mail letters, claimed, “Over the last day or two we have tried to persuade the CWU that there is a sensible way forward and that proposal was sent formally in a letter.”

In fact a letter leaked to Socialist Worker from the Royal Mail side of the talks, reveals the bosses are in fact doing everything possible to scupper negotiations.

The letter from Higson to the CWU union was sent yesterday, during the middle of talks. It changed the position of Royal Mail management in order to make negotiations impossible.

In it, Higson claims that “I have had time to reflect overnight”. Many in the union believe that discussions took place behind the scenes and that government interference led to the new position.

The letter makes clear the determination of management to push through the attacks on postal workers.

It states that the CWU at a local level should, “re-engage with us in discussing improvements to the changes that we have already made… recognising that there is no going back on change”.

For the negotiations to continue, the letter demanded that the union take no national industrial action for all of December and that all local action was called off. It does begrudgingly allow for, “15 minutes of industrial action… should you still need to validate your ballot”.

Further, the letter demanded, “The union withdraws all instructions to representatives not to cooperate with change and modernisation and tells them to re-engage with the agreed industrial relations framework.”

That means that, for meaningful negotiations to take place, Royal Mail is demanding that post workers accept and implement every draconian change to working practices managers are pushing through.

Coming after the revelations of the bosses’ secret plans to break the post strike, it is clear the CWU and every trade unionist and activist must do all in their power to win this vital dispute.

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