Socialist Worker

Somerset post action spreads with coordinated strikes at Bridgwater and Weston-super-Mare

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2367

Some 240 post workers struck at delivery offices in Bridgwater and Weston-Super-Mare in Somerset on Saturday of last week. 

The workers are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU).

They walked out in separate local disputes over similar issues—including allegations of bullying by managers, large workloads and management breaking health and safety rules.

It was the first time in 20 years that workers at Weston-Super-Mare struck. Some 130 were out on Saturday.

For the 110 Bridgwater workers it was the eighth day in their current dispute—and they walked for a ninth time on Monday of this week.

Solidarity has been pouring in to support the striking workers. Turnouts have been solid, with 79 people attending the picket lines.

The striking workers were visited by trade unionists from Bristol Unite health, Unite members from a local Argos distribution centre and from the PCS, FBU and RMT unions.

CWU Croydon branch gave the workers a £2,000 donation.

Dave Chapple, Bristol CWU shop steward, said, “Royal Mail managers have made a serious mistake in trying to beat Bridgwater by starving us back to work.

“They have seriously underestimated our strength—after nine days out, we are stronger than ever, thanks to the support we are getting daily from other Royal Mail workplaces, CWU branches and trades unionists all over the country.”

Bridgwater post workers have put in a request to escalate their strike to a whole week from 2 September.

Some 500 postal workers in Plymouth could strike over similar issues in early September. 

Workers say they are furious at harassment and bullying by management and also increased workloads.

If they come out at the same time as the other two disputes, it would mean 700 workers striking in the south west of England. 

It’s clear that there is a mood to fight back amongst postal workers.Agitating around these local disputes and linking up the strikes can help to feed into the national dispute against the privatisation of Royal Mail.

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