Socialist Worker

What’s the deal in Royal Mail?

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2736

Postal workers have kept up the pressure on bosses

Postal workers have kept up the pressure on bosses (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Postal workers in Royal Mail have been presented with a deal to end a long running dispute.

The deal, agreed by CWU union leaders last month, has halted major attacks on workers’ jobs and conditions that bosses originally planned.

But it also promises revisions to working conditions that are still to be agreed between local managers and union reps.

That means the reality of what these revisions will mean for many workers is still up in the air.

The deal came some seven months after hated boss Rico Back was forced to resign as Royal Mail chief executive following threats of unofficial strikes.

It also followed two overwhelming votes for strikes—one of which was ruled unlawful by a judge when bosses ran to the courts to stop action.

Back wanted to force through plans to smash up Royal Mail, splitting it into a parcels company run for profit and a letters service that would be run down.

Tens of thousands of workers would have been sacked if Back had got his way, while those remaining would have faced devastating attacks on their conditions. But under the agreement, bosses have promised not to break up Royal Mail, to push ahead with plans for a shorter working week, and offered a pay rise.

They also say they will “avoid” compulsory redundancies and even suggest they want to create jobs.

Ballot

CWU leaders want members to accept the deal, though the dates of a ballot had not been announced as Socialist Worker went to press.

The major concessions were won by the huge threat of action by ordinary CWU members—and shows even more could have been won if strikes went ahead.

The promised pay rise includes an increase of just 1 percent from April—below inflation.

But the plans also include an agreement by the CWU to work with bosses to bring in changes to increase parcel deliveries.

This will mean “efficiencies” and changes to some workers’ shift patterns that are still to be negotiated between local reps and managers if the deal is accepted.

Workers shouldn’t be made to accept attacks on their conditions to protect bosses’ profits.


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