Socialist Worker

‘The fight of our lives’ at Royal Mail as ballot for strike begins

Issue No. 2673

a big one—the gate meeting at Southend mail processing unit in Essex

A big one—the gate meeting at Southend mail processing unit in Essex


Around 120,000 postal workers will start voting this week in a national strike ballot.

They are fighting to defend jobs, pay and the future of the service.

Royal Mail chief executive Rico Back is determined to run Royal Mail and Parcelforce more like the delivery services that rely on a low wage and casualised workforce. Only profits for shareholders would matter.

CWU union deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger has told members to “get ready for the fight of your lives”.

The outcome of the dispute will decide whether Royal Mail continues to exist as a public service—or is smashed up and run down for profiting billionaires.

Lesley-Ann MacAskill, an area delivery rep at Highland Amal branch, said, “Members here do not trust Royal Mail or the direction the company is taking.

“That is why they are voting Yes and are prepared to strike to defend their jobs and support the union.”

The union has held over 1,000 gate meetings to build the fightback.

The ballot runs from Tuesday until 15 October.

Agreement

But an external mediation process, which was signed off under the last agreement, is likely to delay the first strike until well into November.

It would be best to strike earlier, but in any case there will have to be activities to keep up the momentum of the dispute.

Royal Mail workers: fighting a package of attacks
Royal Mail workers: fighting a package of attacks
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Meanwhile, the union is taking up the case of Robert Lockyer, who worked at Royal Mail for 29 years.

He was fired from his job at Ashford Delivery Office a year ago after management accused him of “gross misconduct” for an alleged one-minute delay for a special delivery item.

The case is an example of the toxic culture at work.

“This is probably one of the most outrageous dismissals by Royal Mail and tribunal verdicts I’ve ever heard about,” said CWU secretary for delivery workers Mark Baulch.

Lockyer actually arrived inside the premises—a high street bank—four minutes before the 1pm special delivery time.

But Lockyer was told to wait in the queue with other customers. Baulch says that the details of this case “almost make it impossible to even do the job”. “And it also demonstrates why our members should back the union in this current ballot,” he added.


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