Today saw the beginning of the second wave of national strikes at Royal Mail. Tens of thousands of postal workers in mail centres and the company’s network drivers and depot staff took to picket lines. CWU union activists across Britain told Socialist Worker that their action remains absolutely solid.
Matt Bradbury reports from Cornwall that workers at Truro mail centre were in a determined mood. After seeing the strength of the union in action, the few who crossed picket lines last week changed their minds this week.
Union branch chair Steve Lance said that drivers for TNT had also refused to cross.
Branch secretary Tony Lorton spoke for many when he said he hoped future action would see all the different parts of Royal Mail striking together on the same day. Another picket said that the union should not settle the dispute until victory.
“If we don't get the right deal, we've had it as a service,” he said.
From Northamptonshire, senior union rep Mark Batterham told Socialist Worker that the NDC depot at Crick was again solid, and that there were fewer owner-operator drivers scabbing than last week.
Simon Furze reports from Birmingham that at the Aston Mail centre up to forty people were on the picket lines at 6am.
The mood was one of anger and determination to beat the bosses and the government. Pickets spoke about how management had bullied them on their return to work from the last strike.
A CWU rep said, “Management have stepped up the intimidation of the workforce since the last strike. They have stopped all overtime and they are just cracking the whip to get the work out.”
Many workers said they believe the union needs to step up action in the build up to Christmas. One picket said, “We need to send a clear message to this government that we will defend our rights. We also need to send a message to the Tories. They think that if they win the next election we’ll just roll over. We need to show them that we will fight them too.”
At Romford in Essex the mood was also upbeat as management’s declared aim to flood the mail centre with casual workers came to nothing.
“They’ve got about a dozen casuals in there, plus the managers,” said senior union rep Ryan Ward. “That’s exactly the same as last week. Honestly, the managers who go on about how they are going to break us are a joke.”
The nearby East London mail centre in Bow Locks saw a 60-strong picket line and high spirits.
Strikers there told Socialist Worker that the strength of last week’s national strike had given them a big confidence boost, and that managers who had taken a tough line against the union were looking increasingly sheepish.
With the strength of feeling on picket lines continuing to grow, leaders of the CWU union should take inspiration and call an escalating programme of action.