By Nick Clark
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Battles at BT, Royal Mail and Crown Post Offices

This article is over 1 years, 9 months old
The CWU union has given an ‘ultimatum’ to BT bosses over pay
Issue 2813
Two BT workers holding I'm voting yes signs during the ballot

CWU union members build support for a yes vote during the ballots

Workers in BT were on the cusp of finding out whether union leaders will call strikes over pay as Socialist Worker went to press.

Leaders of the CWU union had given BT bosses a deadline of Wednesday of this week to make a “significantly improved” pay offer. If not, union leaders say they will call strike dates for workers in BT and Openreach.

CWU union activists were also set to gather in central London on Wednesday of this week to discuss the next steps. BT bosses forced through a pay increase of £1,500 earlier this year—a real terms pay cut for every worker.

The CWU told its members last week, “We have committed to talks with the company but only if they are willing to improve their offer, agree to no further imposition on pay and agree that it would be subject to a CWU consultative ballot of all affected members.

“In short, next week we will either enter into serious negotiations with the company or we will announce strike action.”

Union leaders shouldn’t hold off action for anything less than an offer in line with the RPI rate of inflation, which is close to 12 percent.

CWU rep Eugene Caparros told Socialist Worker than workers were “thrilled” at the vote to strike and felt “vindicated by that result.” “They’re prepared to go on strike—they’re aware of what that means for them,” he said. 

He added that activists on Wednesday were expecting to “either be told a deal has been offered or to get ready for a strike. We’re making preparations already.”

Strikes at Royal Mail and Post Offices 

Royal Mail delivery office managers were set to strike for two days between Wednesday and Friday of next week over pay and job cuts.

Bosses want to cut 700 managers jobs and slash their pay by up to £7,000. The managers are Unite union members. It comes as a strike ballot over pay by workers in the CWU union is set to end on Tuesday of next week.

The CWU is also set to launch another strike ballot in a fight to defend jobs and conditions. Bosses want to push through major changes, including moving work from delivery offices to designated parcel hubs.

Many CWU members rightly don’t like managers, who have often been the face of workload-related bullying. But the disputes are both against bosses’ plans to slash pay and jobs, and workers shouldn’t cross picket lines.

Meanwhile, workers at Crown Post Offices—the large, state-owned branches—struck on Monday of this week—the latest action in a battle over pay. They were set to be followed by a strike by Post Office logistics and admin workers on Thursday of this week.

The two days of action are the latest in a battle against a 3 percent increase—a massive real terms pay cut. 

The CWU union members previously struck in June and May this year. But so far they have taken only one or two days of action, followed by weeks of talks. Longer, more sustained action—especially by logistics and admin workers who distribute cash and valuables to every Post Office—can break the deadlock.

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