Communication Workers Union reps yesterday hit back at Royal Mail’s decision to hire up to 30,000 temporary workers to break the union’s planned 48-hour strike this Thursday and Friday and called on other public sector unions to take action.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes described the mail move as ‘stupid’ and called on Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier and Business Secretary Peter Mandelson to meet CWU negotiators at ACAS today.
Peckham south east London CWU rep Billy Colvill said yesterday: ‘We have to carry out our strike on Thursday and Friday.
‘Royal Mail and its major shareholder, the government, have made it clear that they are not interested in any negotiated agreement with the union.
‘They intend to impose the so-called modernisation which includes the loss of 60,000 jobs in the next two years.
‘Today’s announcment that Royal Mail are hiring a 30,000-strong scab workforce to break our strike shows their intentions.
‘Also there has been an announcement by the Association of Chief Police Officers that they are closely monitoring the situation.
‘I personally think that our regions and areas have to organise now for a full out confrontation with Royal Mail and this government.
‘We can’t win this on our own and we have to start calling on other unions to support us with action.
‘We have to build a public sector alliance, because if we can’t have a CWU in Royal Mail, then all unions in the public sector will face the same situation.’
Rob Bolton, South Central No1 CWU Chairman, added: ‘The strikes have to go ahead.
‘We should step up the tempo. It’s a make or break moment.
‘It’s all-out war and we have to answer it.
‘Royal Mail with the support of the Brown/Mandelson government have set a course to smash the CWU.
‘That is why they are recruiting a small army of temporary staff to try to break our strike.
‘We have no alternative now, but to call on the support of the whole trade union movement to back us.
‘This is an attack on the whole movement, which cannot be allowed to succeed.
‘If the CWU are defeated in this battle it will be a defeat for the whole working class.
‘The postal workers are fighting on behalf of the whole working-class.
‘Billy Hayes and Dave Ward, the leaders of the CWU, should immediately call off any talks in the light of these latest provocations and demand a recall of the TUC general council.
‘There the only subject up for discussion should be the organisation of solidarity action to support the postal workers.
‘These questions cannot be settled at ACAS. What is at stake here, is the whole future of trade unions and the working-class.
‘We call on every worker to support us in this struggle.’
Interviewed on the Andrew Marr Show, Hayes said of the 30,000 strike-breakers move: ‘I think it’s something that’s not going to help resolve the dispute, it’s going to inflame things.’
On the same programme, City minister Lord Myners told Hayes that ‘you are placing your members’ lives and jobs at risk if you don’t get back to the negotiating table.’
Hayes said that the CWU wanted ‘to get back to the negotiating table’.
Hayes added: ‘Our negotiators were in on Friday. They’ll be in tomorrow morning seeking an agreement. It’s welcome what Peter Mandelson says about ACAS. You know we need to get a third party in.’