There were a large number of pickets at the East London Mail Centre in Bow on Friday morning
There were a large number of pickets at the East London Mail Centre in Bow on Friday morning

Postal workers were out on strike across London, Essex, Scotland and the West Midlands yesterday, the first of a number of days of strike action involving 25,000 Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) members.

There was a lively picket at the East London Mail Centre and Delivery Office in Bow.

CWU member Keith Lynch said: ‘The strike is just beginning to pick up momentum.

‘It’s beginning to involve the rest of the country.

‘Regardless of people’s reservations, it’s an old-fashioned fight to the death.

‘Royal Mail are making no pretence it’s about modernisation, they want the company privatised and to divide it among their rich friends.

‘We’re fighting for a way of life.

‘It’s a class fight, preserving the rights of the have-nots against those who have too much already.

‘The public sector should stand together against privatisation.

‘I’m pleased our leaders have called a national ballot.

‘Sectors of the union think it should have been called some time ago.’

At the NW1 Delivery Office at London’s Euston, CWU member Doug said: ‘We’re here to protest about job cuts, cuts in our working conditions and bullying.

‘We are also angry that customer service is going down.

‘We should have had a national strike earlier.’

Another CWU member, Gary, added: ‘Royal Mail were bringing in cuts throughout the country before London.

‘We should have all come out for them.

‘Royal Mail are just imposing what they want.

‘They’ve had to put privatisation on the back burner because no-one has the money to buy Royal Mail.’

At the giant Mount Pleasant International Mail Centre, north London, CWU assistant branch secretary Lloyd Harris told News Line: ‘Once again we find ourselves outside in dispute over the so-called modernisation plan being forced upon us by Royal Mail.

‘Our fight continues and again nobody has crossed the picket line.

‘The national ballot is long overdue.

‘A national strike is the only way we are going to win.’

There was a strong picket line at South London Mail Centre, Nine Elms, as well as SW1 and SW3 delivery offices on the same site.

CWU processing rep Steve Byrne said: ‘Gradually everyone is joining us.

‘There’s a build-up throughout the country.

‘The way forward is to continue striking. We’re not giving in.

‘And we still don’t know what is going to happen with the pension deficit. That’s our money we paid in for our pensions.’

There was a strong and lively picket at SE4 delivery office at Brockley.

Vincent Kelly, New Cross CWU Unit rep, joined the picket.

He told News Line: ‘The dispute is 100 per cent solid.

‘The members realise what is at stake here – the protection of the public service we provide.

‘The national ballot is well overdue. In London, we are taking the fight to the employers.

‘We are fighting for the future of the whole industry.’

Brockley SE4 CWU rep George Dixon added: ‘Royal Mail are tearing up the agreements that have already been made, and in general we are being bullied at work and being forced to do extra work for no money.

‘We need the rest of the country to join the fight.’

At the South East Delivery Office, Mandela Way SE1, CWU rep Gary Steward said: ‘We are pleased there is a national ballot going on.

‘My members have found out how savage the cuts are going to be.

‘Royal Mail propose to get rid of 59 jobs out of 189 here. That’s just the start!’

In West London, CWU rep at Acton Delivery Office ‘Mitch’ Mitchell told News Line: ‘Now we are having a national ballot, we have got to develop strike action across the country.

‘I don’t think Royal Mail could handle a full-on week strike with the threat of more to follow.’

CWU pickets at Shepherds Bush said they have the support of the public.

CWU rep Mick Kiely said: ‘It’s about time we had a national ballot.

‘At our reps meeting four weeks ago our leaders Billy Hayes and Dave Ward were sabre-rattling about action.

‘But it’s taken this long to get a ballot.

‘Last Saturday, during our strike, we had 22 managers from Wales in our office at great expense.’

‘In a national action, they will have to look after their own offices.’

At West Kensington Delivery Office, CWU pickets condemned management bullying.

CWU picket Robert English said: ‘Management don’t want anyone saying anything, they just want you to do it.

‘If we have too much work to finish in time and we explain it cannot be done, we used to be told which part of the delivery to leave or we could get overtime.

‘Now we are told “you will complete your duty” and work overtime or they will take us down the conduct code, which is basically suspension, suspension, suspension.’

Jim McGrath, CWU rep at South Kensington Delivery Office, told News Line: ‘Management are ignoring local agreements and imposing executive action.

‘They want to break the union, full stop.

‘But we have the support of the general public who see postal workers as an essential part of the community.’