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Postal strikes as Royal Mail refuses to negotiate

Thousands of postal workers go on strike this Friday, Saturday and Monday in defence of jobs and pay.

The strikes will be the biggest in the Post Office since a national strike in 2007, and result from the management’s attempts to impose changes without negotiation.

The union will follow up the weekend strikes with a national strike ballot in September.

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said:

Postal workers are sick and tired of an incompetent management running their business into the ground. Workers are busier than ever and being treated badly. The current round of cuts in jobs and services is unacceptable.

Royal Mail agreed in 2007 to work with the union on agreeing modernisation. Despite explicit commitments to negotiate they are reneging on that agreement and imposing panic-driven cuts to jobs and services. This is downsizing, not modernisation.

The company has failed to set out any clear or joined up vision of what modernisation really means. They must stop imposing change and work with the union to agree the bigger picture of modernisation that the postal service badly needs.

Workers in Birmingham, Coventry, Essex, Edinburgh, London, Suffolk and other parts of the East region and Bristol will stage 24-hour strikes. For the first time since the national dispute of 2007 this includes Royal Mail drivers.

A management spokesman said the union was out to oppose “our goal of making Royal Mail a strong and innovative leader in the UK and international postal markets".

He did not explain how fewer workers would deliver this “modern” service, nor why wage cuts were being demanded when this nationally-owned company announced that profits have doubled in the past year.

Royal Mail made a group-wide operating profit of £321m in the year to 31 March, up from £162m a year ago. And the Post Office part of the business was also profitable.

New Labour continues to insist the company will need to be part-privatised, because whilst the profits flow in, the company pension fund has a massive deficit. And of course, the deficit is due to the reckless capitalist financial system that has gambled away workers’ hard-won benefits.

6 August 2009

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