LATE last week saw around 120,000 postal workers stage a national strike. The strike was a desperate attempt to defend the future of the service. It was also held in protest at Royal Mail bosses trying to implement modernisation without agreement and worries over pensions.
On Thursday 22nd all mail centre staff and network drivers - around 42,000 postal workers – went out for 24 hours. And on Friday 23rd delivery and collection staff - around 78,000 postal workers – went on strike
The national strike was a resounding success.
Solidarity General Secretary Patrick Harrington praised the determination of the postal workers. He said:
“Things must be bad when workers have to go on strike to draw attention to their plight. No-one takes strike action unless they have been pushed to the limit.
I know that some posties are losing money because of this industrial action. However, they say it’s not about the money. What they are saying is that Royal Mail should remain a national and public service – not a business.
They are also rightly concerned about having less and less staff and more and more work. The bosses appear to be exploiting the workers”.
The national strike prevented 135 million letters and parcels from being delivered. This was despite the attempts of management who brought in scab labour in a futile attempt to break the strike.
Postal workers are all set to strike again from Thursday 29th – Saturday 31st October. However, last week’s strike has been so successful that Royal Mail chief executive Adam Crozier has called for direct talks with the unions.
This is a step in the right direction. It will also allow the unions to re-state the concerns of workers about pay, conditions and moderisation.
However, if the talks fail, this week's strikes will involve:
- Thursday - 43,700 staff in mail centres, delivery units in mail centres, network logistic drivers and garage staff walking out from 4am.
- Friday - 400 workers at three sites in Plymouth, Stockport and Stoke, who assist mail centres by reading and entering mail addresses will strike.
- Saturday - 77,000 delivery and collection staff across the UK will stop work..
Mr. Harrington said that if the talks fail, “all Solidarity members holding joint-membership with the CWU must support the next three day rolling postal strike”.