POSTAL WORKERS are on course to begin a national strike ballot over a proposed joint venture with Balfour Beatty. The workers directly affected are in the Romec maintenance and cleaning section. But the plan has implications for all 180,000 postal staff. A strike ballot was supposed to begin at the start of this month, but was halted for further talks.
The decision to start a ballot now is partly a response to the feeling that it is a good time to fight. It is also because pressure is building from below for the union to take a harder line against attacks on jobs and conditions. The CWU union is not balloting over the principle of the joint venture, but wants assurances that bosses will not sell a controlling stake in the new company to Balfour Beatty for at least seven years.
The union believes a sale would affect its members' rights to stay in the Post Office pension scheme. It also wants guarantees that, should the joint venture make any redundancies, its members would be offered alternative jobs in the Post Office. It is important to get a big yes vote for a strike and then put pressure on union leaders to make the strike happen.