A mass meeting of 300 Exeter postal workers tonight rejected the latest offer from management. Bosses had eventually consented to talk to national CWU officials, but early hopes that this might signal a decent offer were dashed.
The meeting was told that management would not at this stage guarantee Fran Choules would be paid for the three days he was off sick, one of the key issues which had led to the walkout.
In addition the proposed return to work agreement had totally unacceptable punitive clauses. These included new restrictive regulations on scheduled attendance (pre-arranged overtime), new curbs on workers’ ability to swap shifts and, most significant of all, “aligning work to functions“. Local CWU union officials said this would mean 30 jobs going out of the distribution function’s platform and warehouse work and just five extra created in the processing function.
The distribution function is Fran’s area which mangemetn clealry see as a 'hotbed of militanc' and therefore to be singled out for attacks.
The meeting restated its resolve to fight on for justice and to defend union rights. Strikers were buoyed up by messages of support from branches across the country.
One striker told Socialist Worker, “There is a great atmosphere on the picket line with young and old, men and women all involved.
“But now we need other branches to take action to support us and make management drop these punishment clauses, pay Fran the money he’s due and lift the disciplinary moves.”
Talks were due to restart on Friday morning. Solidarity is vital to win this key battle.