Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 17 October 2007


Postal workers waiting to assess Royal Mail deal

On Friday 12 October a deal between the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) leaders and Royal Mail was struck against a background of unofficial action in Scotland, Liverpool and East London. Final agreement is dependent on the approval of the CWU postal executive which is still meeting as the socialist goes to press, followed by a ballot of CWU members.

On the basis of leaked reports it seems likely that the deal will not meet the demands that postal workers have been fighting for. If this is the case then it should be opposed by the union executive.

It appears that Royal Mail will still make some attacks on pensions such as ending the current final salary scheme but in 'consultation' with the union.

They will continue to argue for the retirement age to increase from 60 to 65 years.

It seems that a pay rise, due in April, will now start in October and be 5.4%, with another 1.5% next April and a one-off payment of 175. However because this year's increase will not be backdated to April, this would in effect be a below-inflation increase of 3% over 12 months.

The deal may be giving Royal Mail the chance to still push ahead with attacks on postal workers' conditions, only on a local basis rather than national.

If this is the case, it will be much harder for the national union to fight against such changes, as the firefighters' union has found in the recent period.

Determined action

After eight national strike days involving much hardship, which started at the end of June, plus many others at local level, Royal Mail may have budged very little from its original plan.

Following near solid national action during two 48-hour strikes, many postal workers returned to work on Wednesday 10 October only to find that management were trying to implement later start times, even though there had been no agreement with the union on any changes. Workers also discovered that four days' pay lost due to strike action over two separate weeks was deducted from one week. Because workers were not informed of this, many went overdrawn in their bank accounts.

This action, combined with intimidation and harassment from management led to walkouts in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Livingston and Edinburgh. Strikes spread quickly, especially across London and Liverpool through to Friday and Saturday. Liverpool and parts of London were still taking unofficial strike action on Monday 15 October and 2,500 postal workers in Liverpool were still out on Tuesday.

News of union reps being victimised, disciplined and suspended were being reported within the union. Any deal must include an end to victimisation and the re-instatement of all victimised workers.

Adam Crozier, the chief executive of Royal Mail on 2.4 million a year, decided to turn up to the final talks. While they were underway, Royal Mail turned to the anti-trade union laws and went to the courts to gain an injunction against the union to stop the planned sectional strikes on Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 October.

They argued that the strikes were not legal because the union had not declared the correct number of workers who would be taking part in action on those two days.

These two sectional strikes would have meant the largest sections of the postal service walking out the sorting and delivery offices.

Court injunction

With unofficial action having a major effect on the already huge backlog of mail and with postal workers ready to take part in more official action, this injunction should have been defied, with the CWU calling on other unions for support.

The union should not have continued with negotiations once the injunction was threatened.

Throughout the negotiations Royal Mail carried out changes to working conditions and victimised postal workers, especially union reps. Workers should not be left alone to be harassed by management in their individual workplaces they must be supported nationally by the union.

Brown made it clear he is on the side of the Royal Mail management by saying that there is "no justification" for the strike, while John Hutton government 'business secretary' - believed that Royal Mail's original offer was "decent and fair".

After all it was Labour who de-regulated the postal service, opening it up to competition from big business.

And yet the CWU donated over 500,000 to the Labour Party between June 2006 and June 2007! Money was paid over at a time when government-owned Royal Mail was announcing plans of a below-inflation pay increase, worse conditions and job losses.

The CWU should stop funding Labour for good and disaffiliate from the Labour Party. None of the three big business parties have spoken out in favour of the Royal Mail workers, which shows the crucial need for a political voice for working-class people.

If the CWU loses this dispute then Royal Mail workers will see their working conditions and pensions pushed back and union organisation within the postal service seriously threatened. The post service provided for the public will be massively worsened.

This dispute is also crucial for all trade unionists. If this battle is won it would be a spur to other crucial battles in the public sector against low pay and attacks on conditions.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 17 October 2007:

National Health Service Cutbacks and privatisation kill

National NHS demo

The vultures are circling ever closer

10,000 march in Sussex

Swansea fights the cuts

Rally for Socialism

Postal dispute

Exposing Royal Mail's lies

Postal workers waiting to assess Royal Mail deal

Fighting Royal Mail management's attacks

Solid unofficial action in East London

National Shop Stewards' Network meetings

Daylight robbery in Scotland!

Save Bolsover Post Offices

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Brown's blues

International Appeal

Students on trumped-up charges

Socialist Students

Scrap fees for all students

National Shop Stewards Network

Young workers and students need to get involved

"You've got to stick together"

Stop the placement rip-off now!

Campaign for a New Workers Party

Tony Benn evades the issue

Trade Union Freedom Bill

Trade Union Freedom Bill: Banishing Thatcher's anti-union legacy?

Working longer hours for less pay

Socialist Party women

ITV2 - making a good deal out of women's bodies

International socialist news and analysis

Workers' struggle and political instability sends Polish government into meltdown

Australia: Liberals v Labour - no choice for working people in election

Socialist Party news and analysis

Children's homes at risk of buy-outs


Home   |   The Socialist 17 October 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Postal dispute:

trianglePostal dispute: Bosses still on the attack

Postal workers:

triangleHigh Court injunction: solidarity to the CWU - support the posties!

triangleDetermined to resist bosses' attacks

triangle"This is going to be the biggest battle we've seen in Britain for a number of years"

triangleCWU vote for strike action will boost workers' confidence to fight back


triangleBroadband: privatisation has failed to deliver, time for a socialist plan

triangleCWU - ground laid for an almighty struggle

triangleBasingstoke Socialist Party: Defend post workers' jobs and wages

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis


Violence against women

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women



Wages flatline, while shareholders profit



Broadband: privatisation has failed to deliver, time for a socialist plan



Save the NHS: kick out the Tories



Major funding for flood risk management needed



High Court injunction: solidarity to the CWU - support the posties!



Save education - Kick out the Tories


Green Party

Green Party offers no alternative for young people and climate change chaos


General election

Strike, Protest, Vote - to Kick the Tories out



NHS in critical condition


Labour Party

Labour MP targeted by right wing stands as independent


General election

Attacks show elite fear a Corbyn election win



Tories out! Corbyn in with anti-austerity and socialist policies


Grenfell Tower

Grenfell fire inquiry spin deflects blame from establishment


General election

General election 2019 round-up

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019