CWU postal workers will strike again this month (September) in their dispute with Royal Mail over pay and over the bosses' drive to transform the industry radically, with large job cuts, on free-market lines. The strike action follows talks which ended without agreement on Sunday 9 September. As we go to press strike dates have not yet been announced but are set to be before the end of September.
In the talks the union was offered a better deal on pay —a number of options amount to 6.7% on basic pay over two years with additional lump sums. This includes more money in the first year. However the pay was in return for a raft of strings on flexibility, pensions and changes to duties, voluntary redundancy and industrial relations agreements.
CWU branch reps will meet on Thursday 13 September to discuss the outcome of the talks so far.
Pete Kenleyside from the postal executive of the CWU spoke to Solidarity about the current state of play.
“There are two possible assessments: either Royal Mail don’t want an agreement and want to push on with their modernisation programme or they realise there is going to have to make an agreement and are putting everything on the table that they want in a final deal. I’m not sure which assessment is right but either way we will have to restart the industrial action to get them to shift from here. All things being equal we will need to take industrial action. We now have to re-focus on what we want, we need to be clearer on what we want. The political element of the campaign needs to be there. The govenrment still wants “modernisation” (i.e. cuts) in the Post Office.
“We can’t tell what is going to happen with the other unions. The government may pick and chose who it deals with. It may do a deal with Unison and leave the PCS and us hanging out to dry. But I remain optimistic.”
Trade union activists need to get ready for more solidarity work including setting up postal worker support groups.