UK postal workers organised by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are to be balloted for industrial action later this month. This is over the failure of Royal Mail management to carry out agreed promises to raise pay and improve pensions.
The union has also raised concerns over job security and what appears to be a growing culture of bullying by management in the workplace. Much of this seems to be linked to the appointment by Royal Mail of Rico Black as CEO, complete with a £6 million pound sweetener to take the job on.
In launching the ballot, the union reminded members of the tremendous mobilisation that took place around the “four pillars” campaign of a few years back, which produced a massive turnout for strike action. As CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger tweeted:
“This is a dispute about honour and principle. Are you going to defend the agreement or let the Board walk all over you? Get ready for the fight of your life. This is the strongest union in the UK.”
Activists are already responding positively. One postal worker, David, told Socialist Appeal:
“The bottom line for postal workers is not so much the threatened break up of Royal Mail or the reneging on national agreements. It's about maintaining a standard of living for us and our families. The greed of the millionaire Royal Mail bosses has no limit. The only way they can increase their wealth is by taking it from the labour of postal workers. So the choice is clear, if we do nothing we lose, but if we fight to defend our livelihoods we just might win."
CWU General Secretary Dave Ward summed it all up when he spoke to union members:
“I urge every single branch in the union to commence workplace meetings immediately. We can and we will win this.”
“We have built a machine that can win any industrial action ballot. The new CEO is a different operator than what we have faced in the past but make no mistake – he has never faced a union like ours.”
With the ballot result expected on 8 October, all CWU activists must now build for the biggest possible turnout and vote for action to send a clear message.