Royal Mail bosses ran to the courts this week in a desperate bid to stop workers from striking.
Postal workers were set to strike on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week in a watershed battle over pensions, pay and conditions.
But Royal Mail applied to the high court for an injunction on Monday of this week in an effort to stop the action from going ahead.
The hearing was set to take place at the high court in central London at 10.30am on Thursday of this week. CWU members plan to protest outside from 10.15am - and have appealed for supporters to join them.
Bosses claimed the CWU had not followed an agreement signed in 2013.
In the meantime there was no guarantee that Royal Mail’s attempt to stall the strikes would be successful.
Next week’s official strikes were set to go ahead as Socialist Worker went to press.
Workers are determined to show that, whatever the outcome, Royal Mail won’t stop them from fighting.
Mark Dolan, a CWU area rep in north London told Socialist Worker, “If Royal Mail were to win the court injunction there would be a lot of very angry postal workers.
“The members will be angry off the back of a huge vote for strikes that their right to take industrial action has been taken away from them.”
The legal action comes after postal workers delivered a thumping vote for strikes last Tuesday—by 89 percent on a 73 percent turnout.
Bosses want to force through an attack on pensions that will see some workers lose thousands of pounds in their retirement.
And planned changes to Royal Mail’s delivery model are aimed at transforming the workforce into one that’s based on part-time casual workers.
The strike vote, which followed hundreds of mass meetings and a steady stream of unofficial walkouts across the country, shows they’ll face strong resistance.
The result smashed through the 50 percent turnout threshold that the Tories imposed on industrial action ballots in a bid to stop strikes from happening.
But no sooner had the CWU announced the strike dates than Royal Mail bosses threatened legal action if union leaders didn’t call the action off.
They pointed out that the Agenda for Growth agreement, which the CWU signed up to in 2013, restricts the union’s right to call strikes.
Royal Mail said the dispute has to go through an external mediation process before workers can strike.
Bosses hope to delay the strikes until after the busy Christmas period.
The CWU argued that external mediators have already been present at talks. Union leaders are right not to back down in the face of these threats.
Mark said, “Members are not going to be happy with Royal Mail trying to run the clock down.
“If talks go through into December then there’s every likelihood that there could be some kind of reaction to that from members.”
Paul Garraway, a CWU rep in Oxford, said union members had to make sure picket lines are as big as possible.
They should be joined by other trade unionists—everyone should get behind the post workers.
He said “I would argue for everybody to be on the picket line,” he said. “We have to make sure we’ve got good turnouts and that it’s solid.
“We need to show Royal Mail that we’re determined and that will mean a good turnout on the picket line and a solid strike.”
Show support at the picket lines next week
- The strike will begin with any workers whose shifts start on or after 11am next Thursday
- This means action on that day will mainly take place at mail centres
- Most delivery workers will join the action on Friday and Saturday
- Strikers will start returning to work for any shifts scheduled to start on or after 11am on Saturday morning