THOUSANDS OF postal workers could soon be on strike. The result of a strike ballot among 3,500 workers in the cash handling and distribution section was due to be announced this week. Everyone expected it to be a big yes for action and that leaders of the CWU union would have to immediately set out dates for strikes.
Strike ballots of other sections are also planned to begin. The dispute is about the Post Office's move to sell CHD off to Securicor. The threat of strikes has already made the government pause for thought. The Department for Trade and Industry announced last week that it was referring the decision to privatise CHD to the competition commission.
This could be a way of the government covering a retreat. But it could also be a manoeuvre designed to stop action without giving anything in return. CWU members should hold the union's deputy general secretary, John Keggie, to his words. After the government announcement he said, 'We will use every means possible to defend out members.
'The decision by the DTI has not taken away the threat, nor has the employer withdrawn from its desire to sell the business.' It is vital that the CWU does not reduce the CHD battle to a haggle over the terms of transfer to Securicor.
Geoff, a CHD member in east London, told Socialist Worker, 'Many of us have worked for people like Securicor in the past and we don't want to go back to it whatever promises they make.
'They would say anything to get their hands on a profitable piece of the action. 'There's nothing wonderful about the Post Office but at least there is a strong union and therefore some protection from the worst aspects of management power.' CWU leaders should call CHD out and get solidarity from other postal workers as quickly as possible. Many postal workers will be unhappy that they are expected to work while their colleagues are on picket lines. The struggle against privatisation is important for everybody. The CWU should use all its power to win.