Socialist Worker

Unofficial strike delivers blow to Royal Mail bosses

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2480

Post workers on unofficial strike

Post workers on unofficial strike (Pic: Jana Branecka)


An unofficial post workers walkout in Bridgwater, Somerset, has forced concessions from management.

The CWU union members walked out on Wednesday of last week in defence of disabled colleague Andrew Mootoo.

Royal Mail bosses had been keeping Andrew on sick leave since he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 18 months ago.

After initially trying to sack Andrew, bosses instead opted to keep him on sick leave for so long that his wages were stopped.

But the unofficial action forced them to promise serious negotiations about getting Andrew back to work.

Bridgwater CWU rep Dave Chapple told Socialist Worker, “Everyone is over the moon. Morale is sky high.”

He added, “The public support has been amazing. Royal Mail are just getting slaughtered in the social media.

“And we’ve had well over 100 emails come through from trade unionists and disabled rights activists across Britain.”

Managers have now begun disciplinary proceedings against Dave and another rep. Socialist Worker understands that bosses had initially threated to suspend Dave if the CWU did not repudiate the strike.

But the CWU refused to repudiate. And the striking workers only agreed to go back to work on Thursday morning after it was clear that Dave would not be suspended. He says the CWU is prepared to defend him and the other rep if bosses take disciplinary action.

Dave also warned that workers could be out again. “Management have agreed to negotiate about Andrew. But so far there’s no form of words agreed,” he explained.

“We expect Royal Mail to take the question of getting Andrew Mootoo back to work seriously. If that doesn’t take place it’s possible we’ll go back out again.”

The walkout follows another succesful unofficial strike against the use of agency workers at two delivery offices in nearby Plymouth last month.

The walkouts show that it is possible to defy anti-union laws—and that unofficial action gets results.


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