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Postal dispute


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From: The Socialist issue 508, 1 November 2007: NHS: Kick big business out!

Search site for keywords: Postal dispute - CWU

Royal Mail deal

CWU executive member calls for a 'no' vote

Rank and file Communication Workers' Union (CWU) members met on Saturday 27 October to campaign for a 'no' vote in the forthcoming ballot on the deal which has been negotiated with Royal Mail. (See last week's issue of the socialist for more detailed information on the deal.)
Jane James interviewed Dave Warren, a member of the CWU's postal executive. Dave is the only member of the executive to speak out against the deal.
Why did you vote against the deal on the executive?

There's a number of reasons. Firstly the pay doesn't meet our aspirations, it's only 5.4% guaranteed money over two years.

The lump sum of 175 is funded from a bonus scheme which should be our money anyway. And the 1.5% next year is dependent on various changes.

The pensions aspect - we have potentially agreed a scheme which will reduce benefits not just for new starters but also for existing members. For example members will have to work until they're 65 to get their full pension entitlement.

Flexibility - it's almost complete acceptance of Royal Mail's proposals.

And there's various other things in the deal which are unacceptable, like the bonus scheme which is based on budgets. This means payments will be rare if at all.

And there are commitments to things like monthly pay in the future.

Do you think you could get a 'no' vote from the membership?

I think we can. If branches and activists read this deal I don't believe they will find it acceptable. Members have given eight or nine days of strike action.

I can't see how anyone could see this deal even as a compromise let alone a victory and I would urge branches and activists to reject it because it isn't in the best interests of the members.

Do you think that, if the action had continued, you could have won a lot more?

It's difficult to say. These things are always a question of leadership. It's amazing our leadership have agreed this deal and brought it back to the executive.

One thing is for certain, the strike was not crumbling, there was still strong support for the national action and there were requests for local action.

It may have been that as more strikes were called and we hadn't got a deal, we might have had to use different tactics. But there was no consideration of different tactics.

What we brought back was a deal which was not good enough. That I think is the issue.

Do you want to give your comments on the Labour Link?

I don't think it could be said the Labour government has been helpful in this dispute. In fact they've been unhelpful.

Some people in the CWU leadership thought they would be helpful. It is a controversial issue. The union I'm certain will debate it at next year's conference and make a decision.

What do you think the future of the union will be?

The future of the union is going to be a difficult one because this dispute was difficult. We faced a hostile employer and what proved to be a hostile government. And we are operating in a liberalised market.

But what was positive was that our members have been incredibly supportive of us. We have a strong activists base and I believe we can go forward strengthened into the future.







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