Postal Workers Strike – ‘Biggest this Summer’

Bridgwater CWU picket line at 8am  Friday 26 Aug 2022. pic Darren Granter.

Postal workers across the country have gone on strike launching four days of industrial action over the coming weeks, which the Communication Workers Union said would be the “biggest strike of summer so far”. Approximately 115,000 CWU members who work for the Royal Mail Group walked out in a dispute over pay and conditions. Further action is planned for August 31st, September 8th and September 9th. CWU general secretary Dave Ward said “We can’t keep on living in a country where bosses rake in billions in profit while their employees are forced to use food banks. When Royal Mail bosses are raking in £758m in profit and shareholders pocketing in excess of £400m, our members won’t accept pleads of poverty from the company. Postal workers won’t meekly accept their living standards being hammered by greedy business leaders who are completely out of touch with modern Britain. They are sick of corporate failure getting rewarded again and again. Royal Mail’s leadership have lost the dressing room – and unless they make efforts to get real on discussing a pay rise that postal workers deserve, serious disruption will continue.”

CWU members voted by almost 98% on a 77% turnout to take strike action in a recent ballot. The union is demanding that the Royal Mail Group give workers a “dignified, proper pay rise” that covers the rising cost of living.

All Out in Bridgwater

in the county town the Taunton and West Somerset TUC and West Somerset Branch and Taunton Deane CLP turned up to support as did members of the RMT.

In Bridgwater the turnout was solid. Numbers swelled by mid morning to about 75, with over 80 attending the line at some point. Despite Royal Mail plans to open up Bridgwater as a Somerset ‘hub’, nothing happened, the gates were shut, no one attended for work, and the one non-CWU member of staff, out of about 120, stayed away.

Darren Granter, CWU Rep at Bridgwater, said: “ I would like to apologise to all those living in the Taunton/TA 5,6 and 7 postcode areas for the disruption of their mail service during this strike action. The Royal Mail postmen and women throughout the country-115,000 of us-were left with no choice but to take industrial action following the recent attacks on their pay and working conditions  by Royal Mail. Earlier this year, Royal Mail announced a £758 million pound profit, but then imposed a 2% pay increase without any agreement with the CWU. However, £400 million pounds was given to shareholders in addition to large bonuses to senior management. Royal Mail seem to have forgotten that this huge profit was enhanced by the postmen and postwomen working throughout the pandemic, as ‘key workers’, often putting their own families and loved ones at risk. Later start times impacting on deliveries, annualised hours and reduced sick pay are just a few of the changes Royal Mail are looking to impose. Sickeningly, it was announced this week that Roya Mail are offering £1,000 to £1,500 to their managers as a ‘thank you’ bonus, in addition to their normal pay, for attending work during our strike days.”

Labour Support

Bridgwater Labour Leader Cllr Brian Smedley said “Postal workers are fighting for a no-strings, real-terms pay rise – which they are fully entitled to at a time when the Government has lost control of the economy and the cost of living crisis is affecting everyone. It’s at times like these that we need our unions to show the strength of the organised working class and in turn they need our support.”

Yeovil picket line

Yeovil Labour Leader Terry Ledlie said “Labour-minded people who support Labour values must turn up on the picket line and support postal workers.  The Tories are hell-bent on giving trade unions a good kicking whilst implementing more tougher legislation on Unions whilst using the cost of living crisis as an excuse to screw workers. Whilst you can only have 6 pickets on a picket line by law you can have as many supporters as you like standing across the street. We must ensure that we get out as many supporters as possible  so we can show that Postal Workers have our support. Members have chosen to make a  stand against the 2% pay rise, imposed and not negotiated. Another company that rewards shareholders whilst treating key workers with contempt.  Supporters from  the following visited the picket line: Yeovil Trades Council, Yeovil Labour Party , FBU, Sean from Somerton & Frome Labour Party”

Gathering Momentum

Cllr Irena Hubble “wholehearted support”

Labour members turned up on picket lines across the county today to show solidarity. Chair of Bridgwater Branch Labour Party Cllr Irena Hubble, said “ The CWU picket at the sorting office in Bridgwater quickly gathered momentum as  Trades Union activists , Labour Party members as well as  Post Office family members and  the general public gave their wholehearted support to strikers. The Royal Mail brand means nothing now- the senior managers and directors are only after one thing – feeding their fat cats with more profits. Public service is no longer a priority.”


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