Score draw in London postal dispute

Published on: Wed, 06/07/2011 - 14:57

London postal workers have scored a partial, but perhaps ultimately pyrrhic, victory in their battles against closures and job losses at three Royal Mail workplaces in the capital (the mail centres at Twelvetrees in Bow and the Nine Elms centre in south London and the delivery centre at Rathbone Place).

Following a vote for strike action, which passed by a resounding majority, the Communication Workers' Union held off naming strike dates in order to enter into new negotiations with Royal Mail management. The deal they have reached lifts the threat of compulsory redundancies and secures some

London postal strikes in limbo

Published on: Wed, 15/06/2011 - 12:55

Planned strikes by London postal workers are in limbo as of 13 June, with the postal workers’ union CWU still closeted in talks with Royal Mail bosses.

On 23 May the CWU announced that 79% of members voting from workplaces in London facing total or partial closure had backed strikes.

Royal Mail wants to close Twelvetrees Lane mail centre in East London and Nine Elms mail centre in South West London, sharply scale down the big Mount Pleasant centre in Islington, and close the Rathbone Place delivery office just off Oxford Street.

All the closures are due to go through this year. Some work was

Build solidarity with London postal workers

Published on: Thu, 09/06/2011 - 13:10

An emergency motion passed unanimously at the Communication Workers Union conference called on sorting offices all over the country to refuse to handle mail from three London mail centres threatened with closure. This is likely to cause unofficial walkouts as union members get suspended for refusing to carry out an instruction from management.

In the meantime, a ballot of the mail centres — Nine Elms, Rathbone Place and Twelvetrees Crescent — was returned with a yes vote for industrial action. This is not being acted on while talks are in process, but it is expected that the ballot of the

Postal workers go into battle

Published on: Wed, 01/06/2011 - 14:17

On 23 May the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) announced that 79% of voting postal workers in London had backed strike action against the closure of three London mail centres.

The turnout was around 54%, and over 3,000 London postal workers could now strike in June as they attempt to save Nine Elms, Rathbone Place and the Twelvetrees Crescent centre in Bow. Other major London mail centres not threatened with closure, such as the giant Mount Pleasant site in Islington, also face significant cuts. Mount Pleasant could potentially be reduced to 57% of its current size. Royal Mail bosses

CWU conference

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2011 - 12:30

This year’s CWU Conference comes as the pressure in both the postal and telecoms sectors is set to increase.

In the Postal sector the threats from Royal Mail to close more mail centres has been met by postive ballots for strike action in the areas affected. The key question is whether those members affected will be left to fight alone or whether the Union will call a national ballot.

A motion from the Postal Executive giving them the authority to take national industrial action has been passed. Meanwhile, officers are in talks to see whether a deal can be done on the redeployment of staff

"Forward to the past" is no answer for Labour

Published on: Wed, 20/04/2011 - 15:05

“Family, faith and flag” is being promoted as Labour’s new big idea.

Nostalgia for a time when men were men, the church had more social control, and England used to win World Cups is patently ridiculous. But nostalgia can be a strong political force — a negative one.

I was pondering the negative power of nostalgia after the National Executive Council meeting of the CWU recently. The meeting formally agreed to wipe out the discipline charges made by the previous Union of Postal Workers (UPW) Executive against members of the London Divisional Committee (LDC) who took solidarity action for the

Royal Mail job cuts

Published on: Wed, 23/03/2011 - 14:03

Two London mail centres could close as part of a Royal Mail restructuring plan, which puts over 700 workers and 1,000 managerial jobs on the chopping block. A further 1,700 head-office posts could go in a future review.

Centres at Nine Elms and Bromley-by-Bow face complete closure, and Royal Mail bosses have warned of further cuts to come; the company says that up to half of the UK's 64 mail centres could face closure by 2016.

Royal Mail has cut around 65,000 since 2002 but claims that voluntary redundancy and natural wastage mean that the current cuts will not involve any direct sackings.

Cuba and the unions

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2011 - 14:25

An article on the front page of the Communication Workers’ Union website proclaims that it is now “more important than ever” to make solidarity with Cuba.

A lengthy piece reporting on the visit of the new Cuban ambassador to the CWU’s National Executive Committee quotes CWU leader Billy Hayes in his affirmation that “the achievements of Cuba are an inspiration.”

Presumably he means the impressive healthcare system and literacy rates, but one wonders what the union has to say about Cuba’s less “inspiring” “achievements” — its one-party state, its lack of free press, its ban on independent

High Street post office workers to strike

Published on: Wed, 09/03/2011 - 14:17

Postal workers have voted by over 90% to strike in a dispute over pay and job losses.

The workers, who work behind counters at Britain’s 373 “Crown” Post Offices (larger PO branches), have not been balloted since 2007. Post Office Ltd, owned by Royal Mail, has refused to consider a pay increase for counter staff, despite making increased profits of £72 million last year, and giving managers a 2.25% pay rise and a 21% rise for directors. Management is also refusing to renew a guarantee, valid until April 2011, that no further branches will be closed.

Dave Ward, the deputy general secretary of

Scottish unions rally

Published on: Wed, 02/03/2011 - 15:47

Around 300 people attended the 26 February Scottish TUC anti-cuts rally in Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre. It would be unfair to be overly critical of the event.

If anyone from another planet had been in the audience, for example, they would doubtless have found the glittering array of eight platform speakers all saying the same thing in not particularly different words an illuminating event.

Any alien visitor would also have learnt that education cuts are bad, as too are local authority cuts, health service cuts, civil service cuts, Ministry of Defence cuts and the closure of RAF bases in

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