‘GENERAL STRIKE TO DEFEND POSTAL SERVICE’ – ‘We must win this struggle’ say postal workers

CWU General Secretary DAVE WARD (centre left) with CWU strikers on the picket line at the Camden Delivery Office

STRIKING postal workers fighting Royal Mail’s diktat yesterday called for a general strike.

On a lively picket line outside Camden Delivery Office, London NW1, Communication Workers Union (CWU) general secretary Dave Ward told News line: ‘This is a fight for jobs and for the future of the service.

‘Royal Mail is one of the most iconic companies.

‘They are out to destroy jobs and the service.

‘We have to win this.’

CWU London Divisional Rep John Simkins said: ‘Royal Mail bosses are out to destroy the service.

‘This fight is not just about terms and conditions, it’s about the future of the industry.

‘Our members are solid. People are angry and worried about the future.

‘And they know the only protection they’ve got for themselves and the future of their job is with the union.

‘CEO Thompson and his millionaire board want to break the union, break up the industry and sell off the bits that are profitable.

‘There’s a tipping point. So many people are angry about what’s happening at work.

‘The TUC should call a general strike.’

CWU member Rupert added: ‘We’re fighting for better working conditions and a decent pay deal to keep up with inflation.

‘Royal Mail were offering 2% which is a load of rubbish.

‘What the bosses want is dictatorship, enforcing cuts in our terms and conditions.

‘They are having a go at the union. CEO Thompson is commenting on our format – ridiculing the union.

‘We should have a general strike where everyone comes out.

‘People in other companies are striking for the same cause – to keep up with inflation.

‘So we do need a general strike.

‘The Tory government is backing the bosses, we need to get them out.

‘We need a government for the workers.’

CWU member Stefan Pavett stressed: ‘We have to win a decent pay rise.

‘How can you have people who can’t even afford to pay their rent? You’ve even got working people going to food banks.

‘Royal Mail want us on zero hours, there’s no security with that. What’s the point in a pay rise if you’re out of a job in six months?

‘We’ve had enough of poverty pay.

‘Working people should stick together.

‘We need a general strike – it needs big change.’

At the Fulham delivery office CWU picket line there was contempt for Royal Mail’s attack on the union.

‘It’s all-out-war,’ said CWU member Yomi: ‘I’ve worked here for 34 years and I’m striking for the younger generation.’

CWU rep Lazlo Baloch said: ‘They are pushing for more redundancies and if applications are not in by the 27th of November then the cash offer is withdrawn.’

There was a good turnout on the picket line at West Kensington Delivery Office. CWU member Dave Green said: ‘We’ve got to win this one, we have strength in numbers.’

At Hammersmith delivery office, CWU member Steve Howard said: ‘At the moment, it’s looking grim.  Royal Mail management are trying to make 20,000 staff redundant. We are struggling as it is. The service is on its knees.

‘Simon Thompson, Royal Mail boss, wants delivery services to start at 12pm and finish at 5pm. Our competitors DHL, UPS and Amazon start at 8am.

‘If this proposal goes through, Royal Mail will be finished.

‘They also want to close all the customer service points and bring in zero hours contracts, to turn Royal Mail into a gig economy.’

At a lively picket outside Cheltenham sorting office News Line spoke to CWU Rep Phil Jarrat. He said: ‘It’s good we’ve got support from our members I think Royal Mail thought there would be more members going back to work The deal has been rejected by the union We need to keep speaking but we need a huge general strike.’

On the picket line at the Jubilee Mail Centre in Hounslow, west London, CWU member Gerry Daly told News Line: ‘They want Royal Mail to be another gig economy operation and smash the union to get rid of all our existing terms and conditions.

‘Their latest offer is to guarantee no compulsory redundancies until March. They’re laughing at us – that’s only weeks away.

‘We’ve got to stay strong. We have to renationalise Royal Mail.

‘The TUC have got to stop sitting on their hands and call a general strike to kick the Tories out.

‘We have to join up with our brothers and sisters on the railways, teachers, nurses and all NHS workers, firefighters – they’re the ones who make everything work and keep the country going.’

CWU member Omar Mezni, who came from Feltham Delivery Office to join the picket, said: ‘We need a general strike, no doubt about it.

‘What they offer is terrible. It’s not a deal, it’s a donkey deal. How can you survive with it? What do they think we are?

‘They don’t care about the service. I’ve been working for Royal Mail for nearly 23 years. The communities love us and they want to protect us.

‘Renationalise Royal Mail, bring it back to what it used to be.’

CWU member Dave Lovell said: ‘I’ve been 34 years with Royal Mail but the people in charge now are preparing it to become a gig employer.

‘We’ve got to think about the next generation. We need a general strike to kick the Tories out.’

On the picket line at Muswell Hill Post Office, Peter Owens told News Line: ‘We need everybody to come out on strike, doctors, teachers, nurses. I think the TUC don’t want to call a general strike because they don’t want to be seen as the bad guys but they’ve got to step up. The government are hoping inflation will come down next year.’

Matt Wood, CWU Rep at Stoke Newington, said: ‘I think that at some point, there will be further negotiations with management, but at the same time, they are attempting to smash the unions. This is because right the way through, management has tried to go over our heads.’

Replying to Simon Thompson’s statement that there will be no further negotiations after last Monday, Wood said: ‘Then there will be more CWU strikes and with other unions either carrying on or more people coming out, we’re heading for a de facto general strike.’

Striking workers at the Royal Mail office in Pensbury Street, London SW8, were in determined mood yesterday morning opposing Royal Mail’s so-called ‘final offer’, which is an attack on their pay and conditions of work.

John Elliott, CWU rep, told News Line: ‘The final offer is an insult to all postal workers, and no union or its members would ever accept some of the measures proposed by Royal Mail. We will never accept “levelling down”, or accept turning this great 400-year-old service into a gig economy business.

‘I would like to add, Simon Thompson, Royal Mail CEO should get real and postal workers shouldn’t have to pay for his mistakes.’

Lisa spoke to News Line from the lively picket at Mandela Way in South East London. She said: ‘Royal Mail are out to slash our terms and conditions.

‘We have to keep our union strong. We can’t carry on without a union. We can’t have a workforce like this with no union.

‘This is a battle we must win!’