DETAILS OF the national pay and conditions deal between Royal Mail and the CWU union were emerging as Socialist Worker went to press.
Based on what activists have been told, the essential elements are:
The offer would have been much worse if it had not been for the walkout at Oxford in September, the London weighting strikes and, above all, the mass walkouts in October and November.
The courage and organisation of the rank and file, not clever negotiation, has made management move away from its aggressive rhetoric of 'the world has changed' after the pay ballot went down in September.
However, the deal still contains bad elements, especially the thousands of job losses which will result. If Socialist Worker's calculations are right, up to 7,000 jobs will go in deliveries alone. This is less than the 12,500 planned in June (which union national officials were ready to accept). But it is still a heavy blow and will mean speed-ups and a worse service.
The union's national negotiators gave away more than they had to. The deal will now go out to national ballot. When all the details are known postal workers will have to weigh up if this is good enough.
The new deal puts great emphasis on local negotiation. It is urgent to strengthen rank and file organisation. The stronger the local organisation, the easier it will be to stop job losses and demands for harder working.
If enough offices do this then Royal Mail will find it tough to implement the worst aspects of the deal.