Socialist Worker

Postal workers stamp on gutter press smears

THE SUN launched a campaign against postal workers last week, claiming most wanted to accept Royal Mail's pay offer but were being pushed to vote for a strike by 'the intimidation of union bullies'. FRAN CHOULES, a postal worker and CWU union rep in

Issue No. 1867

TALK OF intimidation of workers is a bit rich coming from the Sun. It's an insult.

Remember these are the people who bullied a whole workforce in Wapping in the 1980s in order to break a union.

I'd like to invite them or anyone to come to a postal workers meeting and see what a nonsense talk of union bullying is.

Postal workers know what the issues are and why they need more money.

It's a secret ballot too! I think our members will vote for action in that ballot, not because of intimidation but because they are bloody angry and want reasonable pay.

Our union leaders are campaigning to reject Royal Mail's offer and for a vote for action.

Those leaders were elected by our members precisely because the previous leadership did nothing to win reasonable pay, and accepted job losses.

Postal workers were fed up with that and voted to have a leadership who wanted to fight.

How dare some well paid hack on Rupert Murdoch's Sun start talking about why we shouldn't fight for a living wage?

The basic pay of a postal worker is £262 a week, for doing what is often backbreaking work, starting as early as four in the morning, going out in all weathers, sometimes six days a week.

Others in the mail centres are working round the clock shifts. I'd like to see the people who write Sun editorials do that.

Royal Mail and the press talk of a 14.5 percent pay offer. If they were offering that much without strings we would take their hands off-we're not stupid!

But that's not what they are offering. The pay offer works out at just 3 percent over the next year, which is slightly below inflation.


Everything else is tied to performance related pay, a major increase in pay differences between workers in different areas doing the same job, and loss of overtime and bonus payments.

We want an increase in the basic pay that postal workers get, a unified national rate for the job.

We are asking for 9 percent up front on basic pay, an extra £20 a week, and not tied with any strings.

Some of the changes management want, such as changes in start times, could even see some people lose money because of the loss of premium payments.

Management say we only have to reach productivity targets to get extra money.

But in our area we've had a productivity scheme and that's not how it works. People don't trust management.

I've been doing meetings with my members at offices and people are really angry.

They see how much our bosses get, people like Adam Crozier on half a million, and then these same bosses tell us there's no money for us. How do you think that makes people feel?

We know that we are making profits for them as well-£66 million in letters last year.


Royal Mail is only making a loss because of management's crap foreign investments and the collapse of the Project Horizon computerised payment system, which was the government's responsibility.

Management want us to sign up to accepting 30,000 job cuts as part of their offer.

Postal workers are proud people. we like to think we work hard to deliver a service to the public. We know we are already working right to the limit. We can't understand how both we and the service the public gets wouldn't suffer if management get away with 30,000 job cuts.

Management are taking a hard line in this dispute, and doing a big propaganda exercise. We have to keep on arguing through the ballot period to counter that, and then be ready to take the strike action that will be needed.

Royal Mail won't shift just because of a strike vote, only if we strike and strike hard.

'We want higher pay-we deserve it'

By JANE LOFTUS, member of the CWU union national executive (personal capacity)

The issue is simple. We want a higher basic pay, and we deserve it.

Those who say we don't should try doing the jobs our members do, a six-day week on shifts or early starts come rain or snow.

I've been going round doing meetings of our members, in Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Newton Abbot, Cheltenham, Maesteg.

Every executive member is out in the same way.The mood at the meetings I've done is clear.

People are angry with the government, angry with our management.

We have had criticism of the union too-for not having fought enough in the past to win a higher basic pay!

They are angry with the media, because they only report the management view, never the union or the workers' side.

If the meetings I've done or heard about are typical then people are prepared to fight.

The sales of Post Worker, our rank and file paper, have been amazing. We have sold 600 in north London, 300 in east London, 200 in north Hertfordshire and Exeter, 125 in Lincoln and 100 in Liverpool.

We need to win this ballot and then turn it into action to force Royal Mail to give us the pay rise our members deserve.

POSTAL workers are voting in a national strike ballot over pay, which began last week and will run to 17 September. Another ballot is also taking place at the same time in London over weighting payments.

POST WORKER Rank and file paper for postal workers Vote YES for action Special issue of the rank and file paper for postal workers now available. Includes all the arguments you need to win a yes vote in the pay ballot. Order your copy- phone 07904 157 779.

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Article information

Sat 6 Sep 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1867
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