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Reports round-up: Bullying Royal Mail boss gets the boot after walkouts in Accrington

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Issue 2535
On the picket line last month
On the picket line last month (Pic: CWU East Lancs Amal)

Striking postal workers in Accrington, Lancashire, forced Royal Mail bosses onto the back foot in the run-up to Christmas.

Members of the CWU union at the Accrington delivery office struck against bosses’ refusal to remove a bullying manager.

A change of manager had been recommended in August, but nothing had been done.

Martin Berry, branch secretary of the CWU’s East Lancs Amal branch told Socialist Worker, “There’s a manager who’s been bullying the staff for some time. Now they’ve had enough.

“The manager was using foul and abusive language, and there’s also instances of non-payment of overtime.”

The workers struck twice in December and planned to strike again. But they called off their action after management said they would “resolve” the issue this year.

Berry said, “Royal Mail has agreed to remove the manager from office”.

New offer for BA cabin crew

British Airways “mixed fleet” cabin crew are set to vote on a new pay offer after their union Unite called off a planned strike on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Unite has over 2,700 cabin crew members. General secretary Len McCluskey said, “It will be for our members now to decide if British Airways has done enough to meet their concerns.”

They previously rejected a 2 percent pay offer.

The breathless media coverage in the run-up to the planned strike was a reminder of the workers’ strength to disrupt bosses’ profits.

The details of the new offer have not yet been released.

But it would have been a mistake to call off the Christmas action for anything less than a victory.

Check-in staff, ground crew and baggage handlers at 18 airports had also been set to strike over pay and conditions on 23 and 24 December.

This was called off after talks at conciliation service Acas with employer Swissport saw a “breakthrough”, Unite said.


Living Wage war rolls on at Picturehouse cinemas

The campaign for the Living Wage at Picturehouse cinemas moved forward with a series of strikes last month.

Workers at the Hackney Picturehouse in east London struck on New Years Day. They also struck for five days from 15 December last year to coincide with the release of a new Star Wars film.

Workers at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, south London, also struck on

16 December. A new ballot for industrial action will include workers at Picturehouse Central near Piccadilly Circus in London.

The Bectu union members want the London Living Wage of £9.75. But bosses have rejected their claims.

Harrods protest will demand pay justice

The United Voices of the World union is set to hold a protest against posh department store Harrods on Saturday over its refusal to pay its restaurant workers the full service charge.

Previous protests at chain restaurants such as Pizza Express have won victories quickly and have seen the bosses back down. Although the practice of taking service charges is widespread, it can be defeated when challenged.

Join the protest Sat 7 Jan, 2-6pm, 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL. For more information go to

Weetabix factories to face walkouts

Workers at Weetabix factories in Corby and Kettering are set to begin a series of one-day strikes this week after talks over proposed shift changes broke down.

The Usdaw union has announced that no two strikes will take place in any single week—but long gaps between action could make it easier for bosses to resist.

Stop Home Office deportation flights to Jamaica

The Movement For Justice campaign is set to hold a protest against deportation charter flights outside the Jamaican High Commission on Tuesday 17 January.

The protest follows the charter flight organised by the Home Office to deport people to Jamaica last year.

Join the protest Tue 17 Jan, 4-5pm, 1 Prince Consort Row, Kensington, London, SW7 2BZ. For more information go to

Bectu now biggest sector in Prospect

Media workers’ union Bectu officially merged with civil service workers’ union Prospect last Sunday.

Bectu is now the largest sector of the Prospect union. It will keep some autonomy and elect its own executive.

But merging means strike votes will have to be approved by Prospect’s executive committee. It has also had to disaffiliate from the CND campaign against nuclear weapons and from the Labour Party on a right wing basis as Prospect believes it has to be politically neutral.

Unite calls off bus strike in Wirral

A pay strike by bus drivers in the Wirral, Merseyside, was called off after their Unite union accepted a new pay offer by Stagecoach.

Workers had been set to strike for seven days from Wednesday, at the same time as the area’s main train line is hit by engineering works.

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