THE CWU postal workers' union held a national meeting for mail processing (sorting) reps on Friday of last week.
Around 80 people from mail centres across Britain attended the meeting.
There was a very good atmosphere-much more swagger than a couple of weeks before.
In 95 percent of the sorting offices management have put forward unacceptable offers for changes to work patterns.
If there are no negotiations to produce an agreement at national level then we could move towards a national strike ballot in processing.
It feels like processing is very solid and nobody is going to crack by signing up to local deals.
We need to stick to that and I think a lot of us would be very confident if there was a national ballot.
DELEGATE AT THE NATIONAL PROCESSING MEETING
OUR READERS report from the postal workers' picket lines in London on Wednesday of last week:
As a CWU rep I knew that picketing was a priority. I was surprised how many members wanted to get involved. On the picket line there were new members who had never been in a union before.
Our manager came and tried to wind us up about the loss of pay. We ignored him. Leighton thought half the staff would cross the picket lines but he was wrong.
WEST END DELIVERY CENTRE
Managers were bussed in from Birmingham in the hope that there would be enough strike-breaking workers to do some work. But they had virtually nobody to boss around.
Everyone felt the strike had been a big success and had shown management that the CWU was still a force to be reckoned with.
CWU rep Ken Thornhill told us that pay is so low in London that it is virtually impossible for postal workers to live near where they work.
EMMA STREET, HACKNEY
Angry post workers talked about how conditions have declined over the years. Longer rounds and heavier deliveries have made this 'a young person's' job.
Peter Newines said, 'I'd like to ask Mr Crozier how he can get a £57,000 bonus when Royal Mail is losing £750,000 a day?
'How can he get a bonus after three months that we can't earn in three years?'
Post workers were angry with management and distrustful of the union leadership. 'The union needs to get its act together.
'They need to stop cosying up to government and should be representing us. I have a message for Billy Hayes-Don't sell us down the river.'
BURDETT ROAD, TOWER HAMLETS
There was a warm welcome when we went down to the picket line. As a council worker it was easy to discuss the possibilities of a joint strike over London weighting.
Drivers from the council had come down to pick up post but had been turned round and gone away.
GREENFORD, WEST LONDON
Ealing NUT officers Tom Davies and I took our branch banner to the picket at one of the country's newest and biggest depots.
The action was solid with no regular staff inside. Around 50 managers from Chesterfield were being used to move the most sensitive mail-the stuff that incurs a financial penalty when delivered late.
CWU branch chair Jim Murphy explained that though he was a local lad he had moved to Sussex to find affordable accommodation, and travelled nearly four hours a day.
ABOUT 25 postal workers met in London last Saturday for a meeting called by the rank and file paper Post Worker to discuss 'Crunch time for our union'.
I was left feeling more confident than ever that we can reclaim our union and batter Royal Mail bosses.
We debated why the national pay ballot had gone down and there was a lot of anger against those officials who had not pulled their weight. It would be nice to see some heads roll for this.
There was a great reception for a worker from Oxford who had taken part in the recent strike.
There was some discussion about the relationship between official and unofficial action.
There were some who said that we had to be careful not to have our strategy thrown into chaos by provocations. But most of us thought that we can't duck these battles and have to make sure the unofficial actions win.
A POSTAL WORKER AT THE MEETING