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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manchester class struggle forum, 1st april

The second Manchester Class Struggle Forum will host a discussion on trade unions and trade unionism.

After the collapse of the global financial bubble, the working class is being made to pay. In Britain workers have started to fight back, in the form of a series of one day strikes. There are stories in the media warning of a return to ‘union power’, but what does this mean and is it a good thing for the working class?

The meeting takes place from 7pm on Thursday 1st April at Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5NS. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to express your interest or ask for more info.

Continue reading “manchester class struggle forum, 1st april”

union sell-outs – disbelief and dialectics

by Adam Ford

Many postal workers and their supporters were left disgusted and disbelieving on Bonfire Night. Billy Hayes and his Communication Workers Union executive had unanimously voted to sabotage a series of strikes which enjoyed widespread support, and guaranteed there would be no strikes until after Christmas. What’s more, they had gained nothing concrete in return. When the new year comes around, Royal Mail will still be looking to make thousands of workers redundant, and attack the conditions of those that remain. In the meantime, posties are already facing a meagre festive period, having lost hundreds and even thousands of pounds in wages on the picket lines.

A message on the ‘I Support the Postal Workers!’ Facebook group summed up the thoughts and feelings of many:
“All the postal workers in Stevenage are furious at the strike being called off. They feel that Royal Mail have got what they wanted eg mail being delivered for Xmas. As soon as Xmas is out of the way Royal Mail will be pushing the changes through and not giving a stuff about the workers. Some feel that they have lost wages for nothing.” Continue reading “union sell-outs – disbelief and dialectics”

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”

are we ready for a winter of discontent?

by Sheila Cohen, NUJ Book Branch

Rulers are often more afraid of the political implications of worker activity than workers are aware of them. To take an extreme example, when the police went on strike in 1919 Lloyd George famously intoned, “The country was nearer to Bolshevism that day than any time since”. How many of the high-helmeted bobbies packing Whitehall would have seen it like that?

poststrike

So, coming down to earth a bit, when the Financial Times once again evokes that tired old phrase “Winter of Discontent”, perhaps we should take it seriously. Continue reading “are we ready for a winter of discontent?”

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?

INDUSTRY Post 075952

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”