Socialist Worker

As Royal Mail ballot gets underway CWU members say, ‘We will resist bosses’ bribes’

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2572

Post workers at Wisbech delivery office in Cambridgeshire are voting Yes

Post workers at Wisbech delivery office in Cambridgeshire are voting Yes (Pic: CWU Eastern No 5)


Postal workers are working hard to deliver a thumping vote for nationwide strikes to defend their pensions, pay and conditions from Royal Mail bosses.

Members of the CWU union have started receiving ballot papers asking if they’re prepared to strike.

All signs point towards a big Yes vote—despite bosses’ attempts to scare and buy off workers.

CWU members are fighting plans laid out by senior management to slash their pensions and introduce worse working conditions.

Workers at several Royal Mail offices have already posted pictures of themselves on social media queuing up to post their yes votes.

And the CWU was set to drive the message home with a national “get the vote out day” on Wednesday of this week.

It comes after a day of huge national gate meetings last week, which saw thousands of workers gather at their workplaces to launch the ballot.

Royal Mail bosses are clearly rattled by the scale of the opposition to their planned attacks. They have pleaded with workers not to vote in the ballot for another week, claiming a big announcement is on the way.

CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said, “We suspect that some of the stuff they’re going to come out with is in relation to the pensions.”

Bosses are currently planning to scrap postal workers’ defined benefits pensions scheme and replace it with a worse defined contribution scheme.

This would mean less money is paid into workers’ pension scheme throughout their careers. And the amount paid out would depend on how well bosses have invested the pensions in the stock market casino.

The CWU is calling for a single “wage in retirement” scheme for all workers. But Pullinger said he expects the bosses to offer some a better deal than others.

Queuing up to vote in Warrington

Queuing up to vote in Warrington (Pic: CWU)


“What they are going to try and do is split us as a workforce, something we are determined not to do,” he said. Bosses have already tried to derail the vote by offering a poor improvement on their already insulting pay offer.

They said they would give workers a £350 lump sum—up from a previous £250—followed by below-inflation pay increases of 1.5 percent from 2018.

Reorganise

But even that would require the CWU to agree to bosses’ plans to reorganise Royal Mail’s delivery model.

These include moving delivery times later in the afternoon—a step towards a part-time, casual workforce.

They also want to introduce “self-management,” where “teams” of workers organise sick cover and holiday leave between themselves.

Royal Mail workers see through the attacks—and bosses’ attempts to stop them voting yes just infuriate them more.

Royal Mail directors have even visited offices themselves to make the case for a No vote. But as Mark Dolan, a CWU rep from north London told Socialist Worker, “Everything Royal Mail does is just doing our work for us.

“The meetings with directors coming in are better than any meeting I could have done.

“The members are giving them a hard time and they’re being sent away with their tails between their legs.”

And Paul Garraway, a rep in Oxford, said, “They’re rolling these bigwigs in, sending them out to the offices to read the script and tell everyone to vote No.

“They say what a good job it is and how we can’t afford to go out on strike. But as soon as they start getting questions from the floor they can’t answer them.”

Yet Royal Mail bosses are still determined to force their attacks through.

Paul said, “Royal Mail management are serious. It’s not going to be that we all vote yes and they collapse.

“They’re coming for everything. And if we get battered that’s exactly what they’re going to take.”

It will take more than a big Yes vote to make Royal Mail bosses back down. The campaign must be followed by serious, hard-hitting strikes. Action must continue until there’s a victory, not just talks.


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