UNOFFICIAL AND illegal action by hundreds of Oxford postal workers has won a landmark victory. An Oxford CWU member told Socialist Worker, 'We feel ten feet tall. We were in a big battle and the rank and file and our reps did not blink. We pushed them back and have given an example for postal workers everywhere.'
The Oxford mail centre and the Headington delivery office first walked out after national management went on the offensive against union negotiators after the pay ballot result. They were persuaded to return but then new assaults were launched on the union and the strike began again. As well as the mail centre, a number of delivery offices came out.
Royal Mail tried to disperse Oxford's work to other sorting centres. But none of them would touch it. Fearing a much bigger unofficial dispute if they sacked people for not scabbing, management retreated and gave in to key demands from Oxford workers.
Management has been forced to reinstate Andy Craft and Aimar Butt, two Oxford drivers who had been sacked for refusing to go beyond their normal duties. Workers at the Headington delivery office, the East Oxford office and Oxford's Royal Mail House put out a joint statement last week.
It says they joined the strike, 'in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the mail centre, to defend our union from the attacks of Allan Leighton and Royal mail, to defend the sacked individuals and as a response to the arrogance and abusive manner of the mangers.' That's exactly the spirit needed now. Every Oxford striker should be proud of themselves.
Mark Lal, who has been a line manager in Oxford for the last two years, has been demoted for supporting the walkouts. He told the rank and file paper Post Worker that he would 'gladly put a uniform back on'.
Rank and file paper for postal workers National meeting Crunch time for our Union
Speakers include Norman Candy and Jane Loftus, (both CWU national exec, personal capacity) This Saturday, 4 October, 3.30pm, Lucas Arms, 245A Grays Inn Road, London WC1 (King's Cross station)
New issue of Post Worker out now. Articles on the Oxford victory, the London struggle, why the ballot was lost and more.
To order your copy or for details about the meeting phone 07904 157 779