POSTAL WORKERS across Britain will soon start a strike ballot over their bosses' plans to privatise the Cash Handling and Distribution (CHD) section. The Post Office wants to sell CHD to Securicor, a full privatisation that will affect 3,000 workers.
The sell-off comes on the heels of a joint venture which saw the Romec cleaning and maintenance section put into a partnership with Balfour Beatty. The CWU union postal executive has backed a timetable that will see CHD workers balloted from 29 October, with the result expected on 12 November.
The rest of the postal membership would start voting on 12 November, with the result on 26 November. Action involving both groups could begin from December. It is very good news that rank and file pressure has forced the union leaders to call ballots.
But it will take a lot more pressure to turn this into effective action. The union has twice called ballots recently but not turned them into strikes. This spread disillusion among some sections of the members. Activists must push the union leaders to launch a serious campaign against privatisation and to make it clear there will be no settlement until the strategy is ditched.
POSTAL workers walked out on unofficial strike last week in Newbury over the new delivery systems which have been piloted recently. The national trials at 13 offices have now ended amid chaos and failure to improve the service.
CWU national official Dave Ward says, 'Royal Mail's key plan to save millions of pounds and cut 17,000 jobs is in disarray following the abandonment of the trials.' The CWU should make sure the new delivery systems are buried. Unofficial strikes also took place last week in Slough and Willesden.
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