CWU members across the country are conducting gate meetings this week in support of the upcoming strike ballot amongst Royal Mail staff. The whole labour movement must get behind the postal workers and support their struggle.

CWU members across the country are conducting gate meetings this week in support of the upcoming strike ballot amongst Royal Mail staff. The whole labour movement must get behind the postal workers and support their struggle.

Balloting is about to get underway as postal workers vote on whether to take strike action over pensions, jobs and conditions. The CWU is livid that, having signed an agreement with Royal Mail (RM) management just 20 months ago, the new management at the top of the privatised service is now calling it “unaffordable”. RM bosses want to undermine all that the union has fought for, just in order to boost profits.

Giving hard-working postal workers better conditions or reducing the working week is apparently ‘unaffordable’. Yet Royal Mail CEO Rico Back got a £6 million sweetener just for moving from one part of the company to another.

Management says that they want to talk. But they are still carrying on regardless with their executive action. This will introduce trial schemes that will, if allowed, turn RM towards being a carbon-copy of White Van Man delivery operations that pay little, give workers no rights, and grind employees into the ground.

This is where the bosses want to take the postal service, proposing ‘savings’ that will end up costing thousands of jobs.

Privatisation failure

The bosses moan on about the decline in letter postage. Yet they have bumped up the cost of stamps year-on-year whilst reducing the quality of the delivery service in return. This is how they operate.

By their own standards, the privatisation of Royal Mail has failed. The share price has fallen and fallen. Investment bank Liberum summed up the situation as being “hardly encouraging”, advising investors to sell.

Managers are being sent out to sites to try and convince the workers to ‘see sense’ and give in. They will get a hammering in response. One depot worker told us:

We will have the meetings, but in truth everybody here has had enough and knows that we have to fight. They used the judges last time to stop us but this time nothing will get in our way. This is a battle we must win.”

The bosses are also trying to confuse the issue by suddenly raising the offer of a three-year pay deal. This is important, but it is outside the scope of this dispute. Some have even speculated that this is a trick to create the grounds for a later legal challenge to the strike action.

Solidarity

Mass gate meetings are taking place this week at Royal Mail depots across the country. These have been called by the CWU to mobilise turnout and support for a Yes vote in the upcoming strike ballot. It is already clear, however, that many postal workers are already up for a fight on this.

Voting closes on 17 March. We call on all Royal Mail workers to make sure their voices are heard. All that has been won has been through union organisation and action. The bosses will give up nothing unless workers fight for it.

The whole labour movement must be ready to back the postal workers when the time comes. This will be a critical struggle. Royal Mail workers will need maximum solidarity, starting immediately with messages of support. Their fight is our fight.

We should not forget: behind the Royal Mail management lurks the whole capitalist class and their friends in Parliament. They will be organising against the CWU and any strike action. In response, we must be ready to back trade union members all the way.