Royal Mail workers are gearing up for a second national strike ballot, as bosses promise to steamroll ahead with attacks on jobs, pay and conditions.
The CWU union announced on Tuesday of last week plans to ballot more than 110,000 postal workers, running between 3 and 17 March.
The workers are in the “fight of their lives” against a major assault on Royal Mail by chief executive Rico Back.
Bosses last week insisted that they would push ahead with attacks on jobs and conditions.
These include scrapping some sorting offices and machines, introducing new, later deliveries for some parcels, and bringing in electronic gates at workplaces entrances.
The plans would mean job losses, increased workload and more intense monitoring of workers by management—aiming to squeeze pay and working hours.
Top bosses also said on Friday of last week they want to ditch their promise to shorten the working week to 35 hours—yet another attack on jobs and pay.
Bosses originally agreed to this in a deal with CWU leaders in 2018. The CWU hoped a shorter working week would protect jobs against automation, in return for productivity “trials” and efficiency “savings”.
Yet bosses stalled on the promised reductions, and in a video last week said they couldn’t afford to follow through on their promises. Instead they want to replace it with a new three-year pay deal, but didn’t say how much they would offer.
Managers also blamed Royal Mail’s falling share prices on workers’ refusals to roll over and accept their attacks.
Their goal is break up Royal Mail into a parcels company with working conditions similar to those in Amazon and other parcels courier companies.
What remains of the letters services will be run down.
Mark Dolan, a CWU rep in north London, told Socialist Worker, “Royal Mail blinked. They’re shooting from the hip.
“We announced a national strike ballot and suddenly there’s a three year pay deal.
“All this does is wind the members up. They see right through it.”
The national ballot will be the second in a year.
CWU members voted overwhelmingly to strike last year, but action was called off after bosses got a high court injunction to rule the ballot illegal.
Several CWU branches had also asked for local ballots against bosses’ attempts to ram through changes, after being told to by union leaders.
Yet those ballots may not go ahead now that a national one has been called.
Royal Mail has so far been allowed to delay strikes by workers while it rams through its attacks.
Regional strikes would help to step up the resistance now—and build momentum for national strikes.