royal mail deal: a post mortem

16 04 2010

After 18 days’ strike action in London in 2009 the Communication Workers’ Union leadership voted for a return to work. As one reader of The Commune explains, the subsequent outcome has demoralised many:

by ‘Postman Pat’

I work at the West End Delivery Office in west London. After all the voluntary early retirements there’s along the lines of 300 workers on the floor, of those just 40-50 on nights.

The nightshift is sorting-only but because of the cuts in recent years they hardly ever manage to finish the sorting of letters so that’s usually left for the dayshift: so day staff do sorting and delivery. Some days my district doesn’t manage to finish delivery on time because of a cut from 5 to 2 men on sorting, so we don’t leave the office til 1pm. Read the rest of this entry »





cheers to bureaucracy: it’s CWU’s round

25 03 2010

by Jack Staunton

The well-attended CWU Capital call centre branch meeting on Wednesday evening plumbed the depths of bureaucratic and non-participatory trade unionism. A glorified piss-up, the branch ratified a bewildering array of officers and rules of functioning with no discussion.

Whereas the attendance at the meeting must have reached nearly 100, the meeting lasted a mere 11 minutes and even that was only thanks to two contributions by SWP members demanding that the election for Membership and Recruitment Officer be preceded by a hustings. Read the rest of this entry »





trades union congress: no saviours from on high

6 01 2010

A piece by Clifford Biddulph, part of a debate on the TUC

When the Communication Workers’ Union executive unanimously called off the postal strike on the government’s terms without an agreement,  the continuing success of the employer’s neoliberal offensive  was due in no small measure to the behind the scenes role of Brendan Barber and the Trades Union Congress. Barber had previously played a part in encouraging the CWU leadership to accept the ‘modernisation’ – or neo liberal – agenda in principle. The leader of the TUC was not acting as an advocate of the trade union movement or the interests of workers but as a servant of the state. Tony Blair once described the leader of the TUC as a government colleague. Read the rest of this entry »





union sell-outs – disbelief and dialectics

27 11 2009

by Adam Ford

Many postal workers and their supporters were left disgusted and disbelieving on Bonfire Night. Billy Hayes and his Communication Workers Union executive had unanimously voted to sabotage a series of strikes which enjoyed widespread support, and guaranteed there would be no strikes until after Christmas. What’s more, they had gained nothing concrete in return. When the new year comes around, Royal Mail will still be looking to make thousands of workers redundant, and attack the conditions of those that remain. In the meantime, posties are already facing a meagre festive period, having lost hundreds and even thousands of pounds in wages on the picket lines.

A message on the ‘I Support the Postal Workers!’ Facebook group summed up the thoughts and feelings of many:
“All the postal workers in Stevenage are furious at the strike being called off. They feel that Royal Mail have got what they wanted eg mail being delivered for Xmas. As soon as Xmas is out of the way Royal Mail will be pushing the changes through and not giving a stuff about the workers. Some feel that they have lost wages for nothing.” Read the rest of this entry »





mixed reactions to cwu-royal mail deal

13 11 2009

Interview with a communist post worker

postvan

How strong was the national post strike?

At a national level I would say the strike was very strong. It is hard to say the whole picture from the one location where I work, but judging by Royal Mail Chat [a web forum] — even if the people on there are more militant than average — there were no signs that it was losing momentum. In London there was perhaps a certain tiredness after eighteen weeks of strike action but not such that it was close to exhaustion. At no time did the union claim that they were calling off the action because they were losing people – Royal Mail management claimed that 25% of people were not on strike, but those were fiddled figures given that in that number they included managers and people on holiday, rest day or sick… Read the rest of this entry »





issue 9 of the commune

12 11 2009

The November issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF, or see articles as they are posted online in the list below.

issue9cover

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact uncaptiveminds@gmail.com.

are we ready for a winter of discontent? – by Sheila Cohen

post strike: this is no deal – by Joe Thorne

underground pay deadlock – by Vaughan Thomas

what is the union bureaucracy? – by Alberto Durango

occupation and state building in the new afghanistan – by Jessica Anderson

mixed reactions to cwu-royal mail deal – interview with a communist postman

manchester students build solidarity with post workers – by Mark Harrison

honduras: democracy has not been restored – by Socialismo o Barbarie

month long strike in france: ‘papers for all!’ – interview with Seni cleaners and piece from Où va la CGT?

communism twenty years after the berlin wall fell – interviews with eastern european activists

scottish ruling class: division over union – by Allan Armstrong

obituary of chris harman – by Andy Wilson

university occupations in austria – interview with vienna student activist

question time row: did the straw man really slay the griffin? – by Adam Ford

communist recomposition and workers’ representation – by Chris Ford

‘full and open debate’ on post-no2eu project: ok, when? - by David Broder

building from below: the work of paulo freire – by Dave Spencer

the global commune, january 16th

activities of the commune around britain

 





post strikes suspended: this deal is no deal! resume action!

7 11 2009

by Joe Thorne

CWU Letter to Branches including text of final agreement with Royal Mail (large PDF)

At the top of the CWU-Royal Mail agreement is a header. “Final Draft – 5 November 2009 —- 1.10AM”.  This innocuous line is emblematic of the CWU negotiating team’s strategy: it indicates that the text was agreed more than 7 hours after the strikes were called off.  What sort of negotiation strategy is this – to abandon the bargaining power represented in industrial action, on the promise of a deal yet to be finalised?

INDUSTRY Post 075952

Read the rest of this entry »





post strike: solidarity strong amongst manchester students

5 11 2009

by Mark Harrison

Manchester students are running a solidarity campaign to support the city’s postal workers. The campaign involves members of The Commune, Anarchist Federation, Communist Students, the SWP, AWL and individual leftist students.

PostalPicket

Members of the ‘Manchester Students Support the Postal Strike’ group stood alongside workers on pickets this week and shall be returning for the next round of strikes. For many this has been their first time on a picket line and it has been a good opportunity to learn from the Royal Mail workers about the bullying practices of their management. Despite the right wing press demonising the CWU a ComRes survey for the BBC found that 50% of people sympathise most with the postal workers and only 25 per cent with the management. This was demonstrated by those passing by on their way to work, and even Tony Lloyd, the Labour MP for Manchester Central, came down to show his support (ironically he has been a supporter of plans for postal service privatisation). Read the rest of this entry »





let’s form postcode gangs!

4 11 2009

By Joe Thorne

No, not the postcode gangs that generate periodic moral panics in the mainstream media.  We need a new sort of postcode gang: made up of workers and activists who visit the picket lines set up by postal workers as part of their ongoing strikes against cuts in Royal Mail.  The next strikes are on Friday 6th and Monday 9th November. Why not take half an hour to go down your local picket line (there is a delivery office for each postcode), find a little out about the dispute and show some solidarity?

To find out where to go, check out the Next Strikes page on www.supporttheposties.net

PostStrikeCovPA_468x319 Read the rest of this entry »





bulletin for post strike: no deal, crozier

29 10 2009

A bulletin for postal workers: click here for PDF. Print some off and take them down to your local picket line (or if not, visit your local picket line and show your solidarity anyway…).  If you live in Stoke, Stockport or Plymouth, you might want to go down to the picket line at one of the three MDEC centres that are on strike tomorrow (Friday).  On Saturday, from between 6am and 10.30am, visit the picket line at your local delivery office.   That’s the place you might have been to pick up a parcel if it couldn’t be delivered.  If you aren’t sure where it is, call 08457 740740 (a Royal Mail helpline) and say you’d like to know where your delivery office is (perhaps you need to pick up a parcel, but lost the calling card).

nodealcrozier

- Management are feeling the heat

- Public support is on our side

- Step up the strikes: don’t break action for talks Read the rest of this entry »





royal mail management strategy for defeating strike

24 10 2009

Below appear a series of slides from a Royal Mail management strategy document for dealing with the national strike. These amply display the bosses’ craven lack of ‘good faith’ and feckless disdain their employees and the postal service itself. These slides first appeared in Socialist Worker.

royalmaildoc1

If you cannot read the text of the images properly, download the PDF here. Read the rest of this entry »





a letter from a postman

24 10 2009

A Royal Mail worker describes the background to the 2009 national strike vote, including details of how managers have been manipulating the figures to justify cuts.

pat

Old people still write letters the old-fashioned way: by hand, with a biro, folding up the letter into an envelope, writing the address on the front before adding the stamp. Mostly they don’t have email, and while they often have a mobile phone – bought by the family ‘just in case’ – they usually have no idea how to send a text. So Peter Mandelson wasn’t referring to them when he went on TV in May to press for the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail, saying that figures were down due to competition from emails and texts. Read the rest of this entry »





support the postal strikes!

21 10 2009

Tens of thousands of Royal Mail workers will be staging 24 hour strikes over the next two days.  We would encourage anyone who is able to visit picket lines, and talk to workers, as well as looking to set up local strike support groups.

First, from midnight tonight, workers will begin strikes in Mail Centres – the fifty or so large sorting and distribution depots around the country.  Then, from early Friday morning workers in Delivery Offices will be on strike (except where Delivery Offices are based in Mail Centres, in which case they will be out at the same time as Mail Centre staff).  Your local delivery office is where you may have been to pick up a parcel if it could not be delivered.  If you do not know where it is, Royal Mail provides a service you can use to find out: call 08457 740 740.

post-strike1

Read the rest of this entry »





issue 8 of the commune

9 10 2009

The October issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF, or see articles as they are posted online in the list below.

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact uncaptiveminds@gmail.com.

issue8cover
we’re not ‘all in it together’ – editorial of The Commune

update on the activities of our network

tuc congress: an opportunity wasted? – by Gregor Gall

fragile livelihoods at cowley mini factory – by  Brian Rylance

what is the london postal strike really about? – interview of CWU reps by Sheila Cohen

gordon brown’s workhouses for single mothers – by Zoe Smith

‘new’ tactics versus rubbish bosses – by Adam Ford

lessons of the tower hamlets esol strike – interview with two members of teaching staff

how we fought education cuts in tamworth – by Rob Marsden

on the necessity of pluralist communism – by Nathan Coombs

a letter from tegucigalpa: resisting the honduran coup – by a member of Socialismo o Barbarie

political report from the land of the haggis-eating surrender monkeys – by Allan Armstrong

electoral parties: let’s not put old wine in new bottles – by David Broder

a beginners’ guide to cuts – by Robert Kirby

platform of our communist network








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