ALL OUT STRIKE NEEDED ACROSS PUBLIC SECTOR! – to defend wages and jobs

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‘OUR members are eager to make their feelings felt and ready to strike Friday,’ a Communication Workers Union (CWU) spokeswoman told News Line yesterday on the eve of today’s 24-hour action by 160,000 postal workers.

The CWU spokeswoman added: ‘Members will be out from 3am tomorrow.

‘They are disappointed that yesterday’s talks failed to reach an agreement, but are looking forward to taking strike action.

‘They think Royal Mail should listen to its workers.’

Asked about further action, the spokeswoman told News Line: ‘More strikes will be announced in due course if Royal Mail is not willing to negotiate.’

Today will see the first national post strike for more than a decade in a bitter row over pay and conditions.

As well as Royal Mail delivery and sorting offices, workers based in crown post offices will also be manning picket lines against plans to contract out to WH Smith.

The CWU says there will be further industrial action in the first two weeks of July unless the dispute is resolved.

It has rejected a 2.5 per cent pay-cutting offer and warned that the Royal Mail’s so-called modernisation plans would lead to a cut in postal services and the loss of 40,000 jobs.

Rob Bolton, CWU South Central No1 branch, HP section chairman, said: ‘Our members have been forced into this strike by Royal Mail’s determination to destroy the Post office as a public service.

‘Our members voted by 77 per cent for strike action to defend their jobs, wages and conditions.

‘We are going out for one day tomorrow, but what we really need is an all-out strike, with all-out strike action across the whole public sector to bring down this government and go forward to a workers government.

‘Only that way, will people’s jobs and future be secure.’

Oxford CWU spokesman Noel Fay said: ‘A lot of our members are calling for at least a week’s action.’

He added: ‘Royal Mail have shown a complete lack of interest in negotiations.

‘We’ll complete tomorrow’s action and if there is a negative response, after consulting with our members we will announce further strike dates.

‘I’ve been here 20 years. The feeling is even stronger across the country than it was when we last went out nationally eleven years ago.

‘We are more united today and determined to win.’

At London’s giant international mail sorting office, Mount Pleasant, CWU Area Processing Rep Val Tedd told News Line: ‘The feeling here is superb.

‘There is very strong support for the strike and we do not anticipate Mount Pleasant operating as a mail centre with postmen tomorrow.

‘We all recognise that we are in for a long dispute that is one we are going to win because we have to.’

Amersham CWU Rep. Frank McCann added: ‘We’re 100 per cent solid for the strike.

‘It’s the first time in ten years we’ve had a pay strike.

‘But we haven’t had a rise for years and people have had enough, especially with all the conditions.

‘The 2.5 per cent is a pay cut anyway.

‘Our members are determined to see this through and get what we want.’