‘We need a general strike’ – the Tories have to go!

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CWU picket line at the Fulham Delivery Office won rousing support from passing motorists

‘WE NEED collective action and a general strike. This Tory government has to go. It’s spent the last ten years looking after the bosses and banks. We need a workers government – a government for the many not for the few.’

CWU northwest London area health & safety rep Dave Wake was speaking to News Line on the picket line at Shepherds Walk Delivery Office in Hampstead, early yesterday morning.

Over 150,000 CWU members were on strike yesterday – 115,000 Royal Mail workers and 40,000 BT and Openreach workers.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said yesterday lunchtime: ‘This is about turning Royal Mail into another gig economy employer.

‘What their change agenda also includes is a levelling down agenda on pay, terms and conditions and a levelling down agenda on other services that Royal Mail currently provides.’

‘The reason for the strike is simple: workers will not accept a massive deterioration in their living standards.’

On the picket line at Shepherds Walk Delivery Office in Hampstead, CWU northwest London area health & safety rep Dave Wake told News Line: ‘We’re here protesting against the profits of £758m that we worked for during the pandemic.

‘Royal Mail also gave shareholders £400m and £2m bonuses to the CEO and Chair.

‘We want a decent pay rise – they are putting money into Swiss banks while our people are going to food banks.

‘Royal Mail enforced a 2% pay rise on us which is well below inflation, actually a huge pay cut.

‘They’ve offered another 3.5% with strings which is basically an attack on our terms and conditions. This is going to be a war of attrition.

‘We need collective action and a general strike. This Tory government has to go. It’s spent the last ten years looking after the bosses and banks. We need a workers government – a goverment for the many not for the few.’

On the picket line at Stockwell Delivery Office in south-west London, CWU member Isaac told News Line: ‘Royal Mail should sit down and resolve its dispute with the union.

‘It’s not just us but the customers are suffering. Inflation is in double figures and rising. The 2% rise was imposed undemocratically against us, with no negotiations. The union had no say in it.

‘At the moment there is no government and workers really run the country. So if there was a general strike everything would stop.’

At the SW2 Delivery office in Blenheim Gardens in Brixton, Patrick Simpson, CWU rep, told News Line: ‘It’s a class war between rich and poor. They want to destroy the working class and middle class. Managers are being offered £1,000 to keep full attendance, including no sickness, until October 31st.’

On the picket line at Greenford Mail Centre in west London, CWU member Stephan Byrne told News Line: ‘2% is not enough. My rent went up 10% a month ago.

‘I think the whole country should go out on a general strike. I was on the TUC rally in London in June and I support the lobby of the TUC in Brighton on 12th September. They should call a general strike to bring down the Tory government.

‘Keir Starmer is part of the establishment – a knight of the realm, the worst thing that could have happened to the Labour Party.’

Fellow CWU picket, Compton Persaud said: ‘We need a general strike. Everything is going up except our wages. We’re all in the same boat. Kick the Tories out now.’

At Chiswick Delivery Office CWU member Steve Howard said: ‘I think that we are heading for a general strike. The cost of living crisis is getting out of hand.  Everyone is striking because they want to survive.

‘It’s not about the money, it’s about contractual conditions in which they want to change our terms and conditions. They want us to work seven days a week. New employees coming into the job will have to wait for five years until they are entitled to sick pay. Which is wrong.  It will not encourage people to work for Royal Mail.

‘The bosses are running Royal Mail services down.  They want to reduce deliveries of letters to three days a week. They want it to be more parcel orientated. We have a very good service in Hammersmith, but with these changes that will be introduced the service will go downhill.’

At the Fulham delivery office, CWU rep Brian Miller told News Line: ‘Royal Mail’s 2% pay increase means we are having an 8% pay cut, it’s absolutely disgusting.

‘A year ago we were the 4th emergency service now we are being treated like something under your shoe.

‘With all the other workers now taking action it’s heading for a general strike and it’s about time.’