Socialist Worker

Workers defiant despite Royal Mail court injunction

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2576

CWU general secretary Dave Ward outside the High Court

CWU general secretary Dave Ward outside the High Court (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Royal Mail bosses won a court battle on Thursday to delay a postal workers’ strike. But the workers are determined to keep fighting—and say bosses’ action has only strengthened their resolve.

Members of the CWU union had been gearing up for a 48-hour national strike spanning Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week.

But Royal Mail bosses ran to the high court for an injunction that delays the action for at least seven weeks.

They said an agreement signed by CWU leaders in 2013 stops the union from calling national strikes unless they’ve been through five weeks of external mediation.

It means the CWU will have to take part in five more weeks of talks, and then give another two weeks’ notice, before they can legally strike.

Busiest

But postal workers aren’t demoralised and many say they’re still ready to strike in December—Royal Mail’s busiest time of the year.

Around 100 CWU members protested outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London as the hearing took place.

Speaking to Socialist Worker ahead of the result, postal worker Linford Gibbons said, “If the ruling goes against us it will just make us stronger.

“Royal Mail want to go to mediation. But we are adamant that we’re going to take industrial action if we don’t get an outcome that’s beneficial to everybody.”

And speaking after the result of the hearing, CWU general secretary Dave Ward said, “Royal Mail are completely and utterly deluded if they believe that courtroom politics are going to resolve this dispute.

“We say to Royal Mail, unless you’re going to reach an agreement that satisfies all the issues that are contained in this dispute and is a good agreement for our members, then you are going to have to confront the harsh reality that industrial action and strike action will take place.

“We’re up for it—we know the members are up for it, and we’re not going away.”

The best response to today’s result would be to strike anyway

Postal workers are furious about a huge attack on their pensions, pay and conditions planned by Royal Mail bosses—and many are raring to get out the door.

Union members voted by 89 percent for strikes in a ballot that ended last week—a sign of the widespread anger among postal workers.

Deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said, “The members in the workplaces are going to be incensed by all of this.

“The culture in the workplaces has got toxic. People are fed up with the way they’re being treated. This isn’t going to help that situation.”

Ignore

And Ward said, “We walked in here today with a 90 percent yes vote. And we’ve walked out of court with a 90 percent yes vote intact. Royal Mail cannot ignore the size of that ballot result.”

The best response to today’s result would be to strike anyway. Postal workers have a strong tradition of taking unofficial action. 

But at the very least the result shouldn’t be allowed to demoralise postal workers. And the union can’t let bosses delay action any further.

CWU activists have to keep the momentum up for a huge national strike—and trade unionists everywhere have to show postal workers they have support.


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