royal mail deal: a post mortem

After 18 days’ strike action in London in 2009 the Communication Workers’ Union leadership voted for a return to work. As one reader of The Commune explains, the subsequent outcome has demoralised many:

by ‘Postman Pat’

I work at the West End Delivery Office in west London. After all the voluntary early retirements there’s along the lines of 300 workers on the floor, of those just 40-50 on nights.

The nightshift is sorting-only but because of the cuts in recent years they hardly ever manage to finish the sorting of letters so that’s usually left for the dayshift: so day staff do sorting and delivery. Some days my district doesn’t manage to finish delivery on time because of a cut from 5 to 2 men on sorting, so we don’t leave the office til 1pm. Continue reading “royal mail deal: a post mortem”

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cheers to bureaucracy: it’s CWU’s round

by Jack Staunton

The well-attended CWU Capital call centre branch meeting on Wednesday evening plumbed the depths of bureaucratic and non-participatory trade unionism. A glorified piss-up, the branch ratified a bewildering array of officers and rules of functioning with no discussion.

Whereas the attendance at the meeting must have reached nearly 100, the meeting lasted a mere 11 minutes and even that was only thanks to two contributions by SWP members demanding that the election for Membership and Recruitment Officer be preceded by a hustings. Continue reading “cheers to bureaucracy: it’s CWU’s round”

trades union congress: no saviours from on high

A piece by Clifford Biddulph, part of a debate on the TUC

When the Communication Workers’ Union executive unanimously called off the postal strike on the government’s terms without an agreement,  the continuing success of the employer’s neoliberal offensive  was due in no small measure to the behind the scenes role of Brendan Barber and the Trades Union Congress. Barber had previously played a part in encouraging the CWU leadership to accept the ‘modernisation’ – or neo liberal – agenda in principle. The leader of the TUC was not acting as an advocate of the trade union movement or the interests of workers but as a servant of the state. Tony Blair once described the leader of the TUC as a government colleague. Continue reading “trades union congress: no saviours from on high”

mixed reactions to cwu-royal mail deal

Interview with a communist post worker

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How strong was the national post strike?

At a national level I would say the strike was very strong. It is hard to say the whole picture from the one location where I work, but judging by Royal Mail Chat [a web forum] — even if the people on there are more militant than average — there were no signs that it was losing momentum. In London there was perhaps a certain tiredness after eighteen weeks of strike action but not such that it was close to exhaustion. At no time did the union claim that they were calling off the action because they were losing people – Royal Mail management claimed that 25% of people were not on strike, but those were fiddled figures given that in that number they included managers and people on holiday, rest day or sick… Continue reading “mixed reactions to cwu-royal mail deal”

post strikes suspended: this deal is no deal! resume action!

by Joe Thorne

CWU Letter to Branches including text of final agreement with Royal Mail (large PDF)

At the top of the CWU-Royal Mail agreement is a header. “Final Draft – 5 November 2009 —- 1.10AM”.  This innocuous line is emblematic of the CWU negotiating team’s strategy: it indicates that the text was agreed more than 7 hours after the strikes were called off.  What sort of negotiation strategy is this – to abandon the bargaining power represented in industrial action, on the promise of a deal yet to be finalised?

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Continue reading “post strikes suspended: this deal is no deal! resume action!”

post strike: solidarity strong amongst manchester students

by Mark Harrison

Manchester students are running a solidarity campaign to support the city’s postal workers. The campaign involves members of The Commune, Anarchist Federation, Communist Students, the SWP, AWL and individual leftist students.

PostalPicket

Members of the ‘Manchester Students Support the Postal Strike’ group stood alongside workers on pickets this week and shall be returning for the next round of strikes. For many this has been their first time on a picket line and it has been a good opportunity to learn from the Royal Mail workers about the bullying practices of their management. Despite the right wing press demonising the CWU a ComRes survey for the BBC found that 50% of people sympathise most with the postal workers and only 25 per cent with the management. This was demonstrated by those passing by on their way to work, and even Tony Lloyd, the Labour MP for Manchester Central, came down to show his support (ironically he has been a supporter of plans for postal service privatisation). Continue reading “post strike: solidarity strong amongst manchester students”

let’s form postcode gangs!

By Joe Thorne

No, not the postcode gangs that generate periodic moral panics in the mainstream media.  We need a new sort of postcode gang: made up of workers and activists who visit the picket lines set up by postal workers as part of their ongoing strikes against cuts in Royal Mail.  The next strikes are on Friday 6th and Monday 9th November. Why not take half an hour to go down your local picket line (there is a delivery office for each postcode), find a little out about the dispute and show some solidarity?

To find out where to go, check out the Next Strikes page on www.supporttheposties.net

PostStrikeCovPA_468x319 Continue reading “let’s form postcode gangs!”