The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 13th October 2017

Post workers set to strike

POST WORKERS defeated new Tory anti-union laws by winning a vote for strike with an 89.1 per cent majority on a turnout of 73 per cent turnout, in a dispute over pension rights, wages and job security.

But in spite of this fantastic result the privatised Royal Mail is still trying to secure a court injunction to stop the 48-hour strike planned to start on 19th October — on the grounds that the Communication Workers Union (CWU) refused to call off the strike by a deadline of Monday this week to begin talks.

This was the first nationwide strike ballot since the introduction of new Tory legislation setting thresholds for turnout and results, and the union passed both criteria by massive margins, with almost nine of every 10 members backing the call to arms.

Almost three-quarters of the CWU’s 110,000 Royal Mail members took part in the vote, which was sparked by the company’s attack on the pension rights of hard-working postmen and women, and the refusal of the employer to engage seriously over pay, working hours, future job security, and the need to improve and grow the service to the public.

The union’s deputy general secretary (postal) Terry Pullinger said: “This ballot result is hugely significant and demonstrates a strength of feeling that can only be translated as a massive vote of no confidence in the managerial leadership of the Royal Mail Group and the direction that they advocate.

“Any sense of vocational spirit and working together with management has been lost in a climate of fear and insecurity. This massive failure in trust has created a break down in relationships and a toxic environment where working together to solve difficult problems has become almost impossible. The managerial leadership has failed and should resign or be sacked.

“This is a dispute about honour and we refuse to simply stand aside,”

fantastic result

Reacting to the result, CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “This is a fantastic result for our members and indeed the wider trade union movement. As the first union to test the Trade Union Act we have passed with flying colours. The mixture of a fantastic campaign, led by Terry Pullinger and the Postal Executive, a brilliantly innovative communications strategy and an inspirational ground force has returned a resounding result.

“The CWU have tapped into a mood amongst workers across the UK. Our members are prepared to stand up and fight to protect their terms and conditions and we will do everything within our means to defend them,”

But Royal Mail is seeking a High Court injunction to stop the planned 48-hour strike.

Staff could also stage walkouts during the Black Friday retail sales event next month, or during the Christmas and New Year period.

If the strike goes ahead, it would be the first national walkout since Royal Mail was privatised four years ago.

Royal Mail claimed that the CWU had missed a Monday deadline to remove the threat and agree to peace talks. The company claims that, under an agreement with the union, the CWU must enter mediation with Royal Mail before embarking on industrial action.

The CWU responded, saying that it has been trying to find a solution to the dispute for 18 months.

The company has written to the CWU, invoking a “legally binding external mediation process”, and reiterated that any industrial action would be unlawful.

If the strike goes ahead it will have an impact on other public-sector workers who are considering strike action over pay and a range of other issues.

Dave Ward responded to the injunction threat from Royal Mail, saying: “The fact Royal Mail Group have tried multiple angles to stop our members exercising their democratic right to take strike action shows how desperate they are.

“Instead of playing courtroom politics they should be listening to the overwhelming ballot result. We call on the public and businesses across the country to back their postal workers in what was always going to be a watershed dispute.”