‘WE WANT NATIONAL STRIKE ACTION’ say London postal workers

CWU pickets at Nine Elms Mail Centre in South London, determined to defend jobs and conditions
CWU pickets at Nine Elms Mail Centre in South London, determined to defend jobs and conditions

NATIONAL strike action by Royal Mail workers is imminent, after management continued to hit out at workers taking part in a series of local London strikes.

At East London E3 delivery office, unit rep Vince Micaleff told News Line that his members were furious at the latest provocative actions of the Royal Mail.

He said: ‘The East London strikes have been stood down.

‘The Royal Mail has raised some legal points.

‘Our members are angry. They’ve been told they’d have three days pay cut for taking eight hours’ action. This is dirty tactics. There will be a reaction.’

Similar pledges were issued at the giant Nine Elms Mail Centre in south London, where over 1,000 people work.

There were pickets out early yesterday morning on the second day of strike action at Nine Elms this week.

Workers there and at Mail Centres and delivery offices across the capital are now looking towards the meeting of the CWU’s Postal Executive on Tuesday to make an official call for national strike action.

CWU South-West and South-East London Area Rep Tam Merriweather told News Line: ‘There’s been increased support for the strike at Nine Elms.

‘We went out at 4.00pm on Tuesday afternoon until 10.00pm at night and this morning we’re out from 4.00am until 8.00am, and that’s a lot more damaging to the business and hits our pockets less.’

However, he added: ‘We were due to be out on Thursday and Friday between four and eight, but they have told us if we take that action, they are going to stop us a full day’s pay on each of these days.

‘So to stop it hitting the members’ pockets we’ve called off the action and sought legal advice.’

Merriweather added: ‘The VOC (Vehicle Operating Centre) strike went really well.

‘We are due about 15 vans during the night and I only saw one go in.’

The VOC strike began at 6.00pm on Tuesday and finished at 6.00am yesterday morning.

Merriweather continued: ‘The demand for a national strike ballot was agreed at the highest level last Thursday.

‘Within about six weeks the whole of Royal Mail could be out on strike.

‘The strike action is already all over London and all over Britain.

‘The membership is fully behind us.

‘Negotiation is the only way to go to bring the right terms and conditions and duties that actually work.

‘But if Royal Mail continues in its current stance we will have to escalate our action and force them into talking to us.

‘I would welcome the union turning to other unions for support.’

CWU member I Patel said: ‘There needs to be a national strike definitely, because without a national strike we’re going nowhere, no matter whether we have a three-hour strike here or there.

‘I think we need a strong leadership in the union to win this struggle.’

At Heathrow Airport, members of the London Airport Mail Unit had their picket line on one of the roundabouts on the Perimeter Road near Terminal 4.

Dave Lancey, the CWU rep told News Line: ‘At LAMU we are 100 per cent.

‘We come under Mount Pleasant Branch and there are about 112 of us here.

‘It’s the same here as everywhere: management are not filling vacancies and are trying to spread the workload among the rest of us, trying to push through so-called savings with no negotiations.

‘I really do think they are out to smash the union.

‘Our message to the CWU Executive for their meeting on Tuesday is “Make it National”, the sooner the better.’

Harminder Duhra said: ‘We are angry at the way they treated us. They try to get you to do more work than you are paid for. We will all be voting for national action.’

B A Patel added: ‘Everyone should come out. The whole entire country should come out.

‘The way the management in every industry is treating working-class people is diabolical.

‘In the Post Office, the company is making a profit but they are imposing a pay freeze on us at the same time as they are giving the bosses a big chunk of bonus.’

He added: ‘We all supported the Gate Gourmet workers when they were sacked a few years back.

‘We are so angry the government always takes the side of the bosses and not the workers, when it is the workers who make industry.’