Up to 100 post workers and supporters gathered outside the high court in central London on Thursday as Royal Mail bosses fought to stop a strike.
Bosses applied for an injunction to stop the 48-hour walkout by CWU union members, which was set to begin next Thursday.
Workers voted by 89 percent for strikes on a 73 percent turnout. They are furious at bosses’ attempts to use the courts to stop the action.
Linford Gibbons travelled from Edinstowe in Nottinghamshire to join the protest. He told Socialist Worker, “The government tried to stop us taking action with the thresholds in the Trade Union Act.
“We jumped through those hoops. Now Royal Mail says we have to go to arbitration – but we’ve been in arbitration for 18 months.”
Stan Stubbs from Wessex South Central CWU agreed. “A proper democratic vote took place and they’re trying to stop it on a technicality,” he said.
Labour MP Gill Furniss pledged Labour’s backing for the post workers at the protest. “Royal Mail is not working for the workers,” she said. “I wish you every luck in getting justice. You can be assured that Labour are behind you every step of the way.”
Workers are in dispute over Royal Mail plans to attack their pensions and other conditions. Workers say that, since the post was privatised, their job has got tougher.
“It’s all about cutting costs to make more profits for faceless shareholders,” said Stan. “They don’t care about the workforce.”
Steve Carpenter from South West CWU added, “They made promises to me on pensions and terms and conditions 30 years ago. Now they’re being broken.
“We’ve been squashed over the last few years. We’re working longer hours. It’s not rocket science – it’s short term investors wanting to maximise their profits by stealing our pensions.”
Workers were confident that, whatever the outcome in the court today, the battle would continue. “If it goes against us today it will be a short setback,” said Steve. “I’m still optimistic that we’ll have another strike day.”
Joe Malone from the CWU’s postal executive council said Royal Mail’s behaviour was “despicable”. But he added, “We’ve got the moral high ground. We don’t fear external mediation – Royal Mail does.
“They’re the ones who are scared to come to the negotiating table.”
Bosses will be hoping to drag out talks so that strikes don’t hit the busy Christmas period. But as Darren Price from Wessex South Central said, “This won’t stop us fighting. We might have to have 5-7 weeks of mediation, but we can still take action before Christmas.”
News in brief from workers' struggles
Outsourced cleaners are fighting back
Organise to finish fascist Tommy Robinson