“We’re fighting for the right to a say”

Submitted by Newcastle on 5 November, 2009 - 10:46

A picket at the Cubie Street Delivery Office in Glasgow on 31 October told Solidarity:

“Support in this office for today’s strike is 100%, as it has been for other strike action all through this dispute.

We know what Royal Mail’s tactics are from a leaked document that the media got hold of a couple of weeks ago. Royal Mail planned for this dispute months in advance.

They mapped out in advance what they would be doing each month in order to break the strike, and to carry on with ‘modernisation’ without any consultation or negotiations with the union.

And that’s the main reason for this dispute – Royal Mail wanting to unilaterally change our terms and conditions.

Under the 2007 agreement [which ended that year’s national strike action by the CWU] all future changes were to be made through negotiation.

Our branch recommended a vote against that agreement. There were weaknesses in the deal. There were some national guidelines, but everything was to be decided locally. The result of that has been that different agreements have been reached in different workplaces.

We’re doing more work now than we were three years ago. Over the same period Royal Mail has reduced its workforce by a third. Royal Mail wants to impose further change through executive action.

We are fighting for the right to negotiate our members’ pay and terms and conditions. We know that there will be ‘modernisation’ but any changes have to be negotiated in.

Members of the CMA [the union for Royal Mail managers, which is part of the Unite union] are doing the same as what they did in 2007. They are supporting the business. I don’t know how they can call themselves a union. What they are doing is abhorrent.

By sorting the mail, they’re doing our jobs. They are delivering the priority mail, such as guaranteed-next-day-delivery. Managers have been shipped from Scotland to England to sort mail and do the work of posties down there (where there have been more local disputes than up here). We’ve also had Glasgow managers sent up to Dundee to sort mail there.

Royal Mail has also taken over the old Motorola factory in Bathgate, to use it as what they call a super mail centre. That’s where the casual staff Royal Mail is taking on will be based.

This strike action is a last resort. We’ve tried negotiations but got nowhere. I think there’s a deal to be got. But every time agreement seems close the Royal Mail negotiating team go back to their seniors, who then veto the possible agreement.”

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