OVER 3,000 postal workers were on the verge of strikes against privatisation as Socialist Worker went to press. Strikes will go ahead unless Royal Mail managers back off completely from their plan to hand the Cash Handling and Distribution (CHD) section over to Securicor. Talks between management and the CWU union were planned to take place this week. On a 67 percent turnout CHD members voted by a remarkable 95 percent for action. Immediately after the vote Royal Mail and Securicor announced they were dropping their original privatisation plan.
The retreat was down to two factors - their fear of triggering a wider revolt by postal workers, and the government's wish to keep the firefighters isolated. But there is still the possibility that bosses may reveal a new sell-off plan. One option is for Securicor to grab just the cash centres rather than the entire section.
Union leaders have pledged that there will be strikes unless all the privatisation plans were removed. 'The CWU has an unquestionable mandate to take strike action if we feel the livelihoods of our CHD members are threatened,' said general secretary Billy Hayes.
There are discussions about balloting wider sections of the workforce so joint action could take place before Christmas. Union leaders are worried that other postal workers may strike unofficially with CHD workers.
Many postal workers are prepared to go along with the official strategy for a while but if it looks as if the union leaders are throwing away the fight then new strategies must be tried.
'Stop the rot' meeting on privatisation, low pay and other issues called by Post Worker, the rank and file postal workers' paper. Saturday 30 November, 2.30pm. Room 2C, University of London Union, Malet Street, London.