Last year, strike action by Royal Mail workers was scandalously blocked by the High Court. As a result, the CWU is set to ballot members again. Unofficial walkouts are already taking place. Support the postal workers’ struggle!
In a new letter sent to union reps from the head office of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) which organises workers at Royal Mail (RM), the union has made it clear that they intend to ballot its members again over taking action in defence of jobs and conditions. This has been confirmed by AGS Terry Pullinger who stated: “We will now re-ballot our members—this dispute is far from resolved.”
A ballot held late last year attracted both a huge vote for action and a massive turnout, smashing through the Tory anti-trade union laws. As a result the bosses went to the establishment-friendly high court to get a dubious and class-based decision to rule the strike illegal on technicalities.
In recent weeks the union has returned to the negotiating table in good faith to try and find a resolution to the dispute which has been running for some considerable time now. However, it has now become clear that management are happy to talk but are still proceeding with attacks on the workforce behind the scenes.
As the union letter explained: “In effect management’s position is they will listen and talk to us but still go and do what they want. It is a declaration of industrial war… To be absolutely clear, we are now back into campaign mode for another massive yes vote.” Despite all the talk by the bosses of things looking bad, Royal Mail is still valued at £2.2 billion with declared profits of £241 million last year. It is the profits that the bosses want to boost at the expense of the workforce.
This means undermining everything the unions have won for their members over the decades and imposing the sort of harsh working conditions now seen as the norm in the zero-hours gig economy and certainly the norm in the “white van man” parcel firms that RM want to compete with and copy. Management wants to cut jobs, reduce the service as regards letter deliveries and re-orientate towards parcel deliveries which are seen as more profitable. Their plans are bad for customers and they are bad for RM workers.
All Royal Mail workers must get organised now to achieve the best result and turnout when the ballot takes place and then be ready to walk out come what may, high court or no high court. CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “We will run the biggest campaign the movement has ever seen.” Let’s get the result that campaign deserves and send the Royal Mail management and their friends in government a clear message.
At the same time, the CWU has sent a series of questions to the candidates for the Labour leadership asking if they support the manifesto commitments of 2017 and 2019, particularly over renationalisation of the mail service. After the election result Dave Ward made it clear as regards the Corbyn leadership that: “a prolonged assault from the media has assassinated the character of a man who has devoted his whole life to helping others… what nobody can face away from is that we have seen four years of constant attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the membership by some MPs and Labour’s old guard, who have openly put removing Jeremy ahead of securing a Labour government.”
As such the union has asked all the candidates what they would do to ensure greater working class representation in parliament. All these questions will help decide which candidate will be nominated by the CWU.