Walkout in Aston
SOME 100 postal workers at the sorting office in Aston, Birmingham, stopped work on Monday of last week. Their strike was against the sacking of Peter Longbottom, who was accused of having consumed alcohol before arriving at work. One union activist said, 'Members were particularly annoyed that the same manager who accused Peter of drinking was the one that sacked him. Judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one.'
Management responded to the stoppage by upping the stakes. They stopped all overtime for seven days for those who took action and withdrew all union facility time for 28 days, accusing the union of orchestrating the walkout. Union members are asking to be balloted for strike action across the whole office against this attack.
ROYAL MAIL'S secret plan to sack thousands of line managers and technical staff has caused uproar. Members of Amicus, the union that organises these grades in the Post Office, may be about to start a strike ballot. A leaked report showed that only 1,800 people had volunteered for redundancy, half of Royal Mail's target. Now management is moving to compulsory redundancies.
The leaked document says that business unit personnel managers 'will take responsibility for writing to LTS (long term sick) and maternity leave people' in an effort to persuade more people out of the job.
Colin Walker of the Amicus national executive told Socialist Worker, 'Royal Mail has acted disgracefully. The job cuts have to be fought as vigorously as possible.'
Many uniformed postal workers will have very mixed feelings about this dispute. In previous battles these managers have crossed CWU union picket lines and some have organised the scabbing and spying operations against union militants. That is why many CWU members have deep resentment against these managers and have repeatedly called for them to be expelled from the TUC.
Nevertheless CWU members should welcome a strike if it happens. It would represent a growing recognition by the line managers that the top bosses are bastards.
If Royal Mail gets away with these job cuts it will also attempt to do the same to CWU members.