Socialist Worker

Post workers’ unofficial walkout forces Royal Mail bosses to lift reps’ suspension

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2553

Picket line selfie—Royal Mail workers in Milton Keynes strike for their CWU reps

Picket line selfie—Royal Mail workers in Milton Keynes strike for their CWU reps (Pic: via @DaveWardGS on Twitter)


Postal workers across Milton Keynes and Luton forced bosses into a climbdown from an attack on two union reps with an unofficial walkout on Monday.

Workers at nine Royal Mail offices walked out on Monday morning after two of their leading CWU union reps were suspended on Friday.

And workers from the nearby South Midlands mail centre refused to cross the picket lines.

The strikers only went back to work on Tuesday after their action forced bosses to lift the reps’ suspension.

Disciplinary proceedings against the reps are still going ahead.

CWU regional secretary Paul Moffat told Socialist Worker, “It’s the action that’s forced Royal Mail to focus their minds and lift the suspension.

“The MK and LU postcodes that the action affected are a huge area. It brought the whole thing to a standstill and caused chaos.”

The walkout began after Royal Mail bosses suspended CWU reps Neal Kidwell and Tom Oakey after accusing them of claiming unauthorised overtime. But CWU officials say the two had followed custom and practice in claiming their overtime, which had been signed off by a manager.

Dispute

Instead it was an attempt by bosses to get rid of two union reps in the run up to a huge dispute that could see national strikes later this year.

“We see it as an attack on our two senior reps,” said Paul.

“This could have happened to any rep in Royal Mail.

“That’s why this is a national issue, it’s not isolated to these two people.”

The walkout came as Royal Mail bosses are getting ready to launch a massive attack on workers’ pensions, pay and conditions.

Delegates at the CWU’s annual postal conference last month unanimously agreed they could ballot for strikes later this year.

Monday’s walkout shows the kind of action that can win.

Paul said, “The members are up for a dust up at the moment—Royal Mail are attacking everything.

“The members would have been out again today if they needed to.”


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