Postal workers' national strikes, 2007

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Mike Harman
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Oct 22 2007 18:16

John, have you been under a rock the past week? (oh yeah you have ; )).

It's still 2.5% ffs. 6.9% is a big fucking lie.

There's no back dated pay - the £175 is money they were going to get anyway from some old agreement that's finishing up, so it's actually 5.4% over 18 months and 6 months with no pay rise (which works out as around 2.1% ish when you work it out). Then there's an additional 1.5% that they only get at some point next year - which'll work out as 0.8 - 1.% over the two years - 2.5%/year in total - and this only gets added on when flexibility has been successfully implemented.

So they haven't budged - at most by under 0.5%, they've just reworded it and messed with the dates to make it look like they have. Unfortunately if people as normally critical as you are falling for it, then I imagine a lot of posties will too - and given that apparently a lot of people only vote on money anyway (i.e. ignore pensions, work changes etc.), it'll likely get voted through despite being no better than the leaked deals everyone's ripped apart for the past few months sad

Take into account that D2Ds (junk mail allowances basically) aren't protected in this agreement, and you could see delivery postmen losing £100+/month on this as well against a pay raise that'll work out at less than that.

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Steven.
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Oct 22 2007 18:40

shit... and yes i'm on holiday bitch!

time for a info leaflet explaining shit like this, and saying vote no? or not enough time?

Mike Harman
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Oct 22 2007 19:27

Yeah info leaflet, already on it. Has to be the first thing we do. I don't think we should fall into a "vote no" thing - looks like everyone will do that, just present the bare facts of the deal, and if there is and unofficial action over this then argue in favour of that (in the abstract it won't mean much at this point).

Mike Harman
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Oct 22 2007 19:35
jafferpants wrote:
one point no one has latched on to, if you move the pay date from last april to this october they will have done you out of 7 months pension irrespective of what the seperate negotiations might come up with. as regards the rest of it i told you so.

for posterity. It's 10+ page thread on there now.

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 22 2007 21:04

one thing on the pay offer. yes 6.9% is a big fucking lie, (eloquently put catch wink), but something jack told me the other day is that this is kinda backfiring in other sectors as people at his work have been saying 'look what the posties got from striking, they went from 2.1% to 6.9%, let's strike!'

Mike Harman
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Oct 22 2007 21:41
Joseph K. wrote:
one thing on the pay offer. yes 6.9% is a big fucking lie, (eloquently put catch wink), but something jack told me the other day is that this is kinda backfiring in other sectors as people at his work have been saying 'look what the posties got from striking, they went from 2.1% to 6.9%, let's strike!'

Oh that'd cheer me up.

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Steven.
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Oct 23 2007 08:31
Mike Harman wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
one thing on the pay offer. yes 6.9% is a big fucking lie, (eloquently put catch wink), but something jack told me the other day is that this is kinda backfiring in other sectors as people at his work have been saying 'look what the posties got from striking, they went from 2.1% to 6.9%, let's strike!'

Oh that'd cheer me up.

yeah true! jack's local govt now too right? we should be on strike together!

Mike Harman
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Oct 23 2007 11:21

http://royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7021&highlight=

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7057779.stm

Quote:
"Royal Mail's proposals include closing the final salary scheme to new members from 31 January 2008 and replacing it with a Defined Contribution scheme [and] introducing a Career Average Defined Benefit scheme for our existing employees from 1 April 2008," it added.

However, a spokeswoman for the CWU said the union was annoyed its stance had been misrepresented.

She said the union had only agreed to a new, separate, process of consultation on the proposed pension changes, which was no longer related to the deal on pay and working conditions.

"Whatever comes out of the consultation, there will be a ballot right across all CWU members in the Royal Mail group, including the Post Office, Parcel Force, cleaners and caterers," she said.

Career average

For existing staff, the crucial issue will be to what extent the new "career average" scheme is worse than their current final salary version.

Overall it will be less generous, requiring Royal Mail to pay in less each year as a percentage of staff salaries, thus cutting the employer's overall contribution rate by perhaps five percentage points, according to one union official.

For staff who expect their salaries at the end of their careers to be significantly higher than when they started, such a scheme would undoubtedly be inferior.

For staff who do not expect much by way of promotional pay increases, it will not be so damaging.

Crucial to the calculation will be the rate at which pension is built up each year.

The CWU says the new scheme will maintain the same accrual rates as the current final salary one, either 1/60th or 1/80th of salary each year.

The BBC has also learned that the plan is for each member's individual pension pot to be revalued each year in line with inflation, up to a ceiling of 5%, rather than being linked to final salary at retirement.

That would expose the members' pensions to being eroded by inflation if it was running at a rate higher than 5%.

Consultation

Neither Royal Mail, trade unions, or the pension scheme itself have published the full details of the impending changes.

This should happen soon, once the formal consultation process required by law begins.

"There is no timetable on it yet," said a Royal Mail spokesman.

"But obviously it will go ahead before next April," he added.

There is, however, some confusion as to how long that consultation will be.

Royal Mail says 60 days, the legal minimum.

However, officials of both the CWU and Unite says they have been told it will last for 90 days

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7056462.stm

Quote:
5.4% rise in pay and weekday overtime from 1 October
1.5% rise in pay in April on delivery of agreed reforms
One-off £175 payment for staff
Final salary pension scheme to close to new members next January and to existing members next April
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Joseph Kay
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Oct 23 2007 11:59
Quote:
Royal Mail says 60 days, the legal minimum.

hang on, 'consultation' is being hailed as a concession, but it's a legal obligation? this 'deal' gets worse and worse

Mike Harman
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Oct 23 2007 12:15

CWU have agreed to a consultation on pension reform (i.e. closing final salary scheme) as part of the deal, and they'll look on it favourably (which is why the BBC and RM can present it as a fait accompli that the changes are coming in and are a part of the pay deal).

There's a 60 day legal minimum period for these consultations, so RM are going to start and finish the whole process asap.

So yeah the deal ties them into a consultation, and the statement puts them on RM's side in such a consultation, in other words the CWU leadership is prepared to kill final salary pensions for new and existing workers, but doesn't think it can be pushed through along with flexibility with everything else, so both sides decided to take it out and bring it in separately (although not any later).

People with eyes only on the money are more likely to vote for the pay deal with strings if they're not going to sign away their pensions in the same stroke.

CWU is relatively unlikely to lose a ballot on pensions arguing in favour of closing final salary, because it'll be a single issue ballot, and they'll have some kind of two-tier fudge to start off with plus it looks like leadership will back the "can't afford it" arguments.

Mark.
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Oct 24 2007 08:54

http://www.royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6975&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=315

Quote:
RM's interpretation (RM news release 22/10/07, http://www.news.royalmailgroup.com/news/article.asp?id=2054&brand=royal_mail) of the "agreement" is very different to the CWU version. That's not encouraging for anybody hoping to "work together to bring about a fresh start in the spirit of the proposed national agreement". Even if you thought that national agreement presented a reasonable basis for settlement, you're not going to get what you thought it promised.

Edit:

Royal Mail wrote:
Royal Mail Chief Executive Adam Crozier said: [ ... ] "I’d also like to acknowledge the role played by Brendan Barber and the TUC and to thank them for helping to bring these talks to a sensible conclusion."

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Ed
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Oct 25 2007 14:25

Just got this in an email, will this be any good or just full of Trots?

Quote:
Please circulate to postal workers

Reject the Deal

An open meeting to discuss a campaign to win a No vote in the CWU ballot
Saturday 27 October 2. 30pm
Vernon Square campus of SOAS, Penton Rise, London WC1X, Just off King’s Cross Road, nearest tube, King’s Cross

We, the undersigned, call upon CWU postal branches, CWU representatives, and ordinary CWU members to sponsor, support and attend an Open Special Conference to organise the maximum No vote in the forthcoming ballot. We would like to remind you just why this deal should be rejected.

* Flexible working-potentially every day
* Pensions destroyed in the future-working until 65
* Continued threats to mail centres
* Uncertainty over continued payments for Door to Door
* A pathetically below-inflation pay deal
* Agreement to changes in start times which were initially imposed
* Long days and short days agreed-for example the possibility of a nine-hour Friday
* Potential working in neighbouring offices and work outside normal duties
* No amnesty for sacked reps

The conference will be held in London on Saturday 27 October and we urge the maximum attendance. Initial signatories to this appeal include:

Dave Warren PEC member
Angela Mulcahy Area processing rep East London postal
Paul Turnbull Area processing rep Eastern NO4 branch
Dave Chapple vice-chair Bristol & district amal
Pete Firmin vice-chair London West End amal
Geoff Breeze Southampton CWU member
Merlin Reader Local rep, Mount Pleasant
Presley Antoine Delivery unit rep WEDO
Paul Garraway political officer South Central No1

All names in a personal capacity

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Forty Twenty
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Oct 25 2007 17:56
Ed wrote:
Just got this in an email, will this be any good or just full of Trots?
Quote:
Please circulate to postal workers

Reject the Deal

An open meeting to discuss a campaign to win a No vote in the CWU ballot
Saturday 27 October 2. 30pm
Vernon Square campus of SOAS, Penton Rise, London WC1X, Just off King’s Cross Road, nearest tube, King’s Cross

We, the undersigned, call upon CWU postal branches, CWU representatives, and ordinary CWU members to sponsor, support and attend an Open Special Conference to organise the maximum No vote in the forthcoming ballot. We would like to remind you just why this deal should be rejected.

* Flexible working-potentially every day
* Pensions destroyed in the future-working until 65
* Continued threats to mail centres
* Uncertainty over continued payments for Door to Door
* A pathetically below-inflation pay deal
* Agreement to changes in start times which were initially imposed
* Long days and short days agreed-for example the possibility of a nine-hour Friday
* Potential working in neighbouring offices and work outside normal duties
* No amnesty for sacked reps

The conference will be held in London on Saturday 27 October and we urge the maximum attendance. Initial signatories to this appeal include:

Dave Warren PEC member
Angela Mulcahy Area processing rep East London postal
Paul Turnbull Area processing rep Eastern NO4 branch
Dave Chapple vice-chair Bristol & district amal
Pete Firmin vice-chair London West End amal
Geoff Breeze Southampton CWU member
Merlin Reader Local rep, Mount Pleasant
Presley Antoine Delivery unit rep WEDO
Paul Garraway political officer South Central No1

All names in a personal capacity

At least one of those speakers is a Trot. He used to post on the AWL posties discussion list a few years ago. Sound lad though.

ftony
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Oct 25 2007 18:49

i might go just so i can meet someone called Merlin Reader cool

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Ed
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Oct 31 2007 02:25

Wildcats in Northamptonshire, Belfast and Carlisle according the Socialist Worker:

Socialist Worker wrote:
Anger in post still high across country
Crick

Workers at the Royal Mail’s flagship National Distribution Centre in Crick, Northamptonshire, are threatening to ballot for strike action in a dispute over the introduction of new routes for network drivers.

CWU rep Frank Alderson at the NDC, says, “The dispute is being prolonged due to management’s continued refusal to honour the recent national agreement reached to end the strike action.

“We now have a situation whereby management have altered arrival and departure times without the staff in place to perform them.”

Belfast

Postal workers in Belfast have won an important victory against management after unofficial action on Friday of last week. It took the workers just one and a half hours to force down bosses’ attempts to change start times.

Managers insisted that the workforce put forward their start times by two hours.

One union activist told Socialist Worker, “Senior managers had brought in a hard hitter to smash the late shift, our strongest one. He told us that it doesn’t matter what the union says, you’re starting later, and that’s the way it’s going to be.

“People were raging. We waited until we had the maximum number possible from each shift – about 250, and then we walked out.

“Within 20 minutes management were asking what it would take to get us to go back in.”

The new times have been made voluntary, no one will have pay docked or be disciplined and union facility time won’t be affected.

Mark Hewitt

Carlisle

Some 500 postal workers in Carlisle walked out unofficially on Friday of last week over the use of temporary workers to clear the backlog from the strike.

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Devrim
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Nov 7 2007 14:28

From WR:

ICC wrote:
CWU: Selling out or just doing its job?
After nearly 3 months of dispute the worse fears of postal workers have been confirmed. The Communication Workers Union (CWU), through its executive, have recommended acceptance of a deal which is practically the same as the original offer made by Royal Mail. After 3 weeks of wrangling Billy Hayes and Dave Ward were desperately attempting to put together a package that they could sell to postal-workers. In a joint statement of Royal Mail/CWU to all CWU branches, Ward and Hayes had the gall to say: "Royal Mail and CWU recognise that the scale of the recent dispute has the potential to damage relationships between managers, reps and employees ... Everyone wants to put the dispute behind us and we are all committed to restoring good industrial and employee relations at all levels". The statement says that "The CWU will withdraw all current and proposed industrial action relating to the national dispute".

This is after Royal Mail had agreed that union reps were reinstated to their original status, maintaining that the CWU are able to control the strike.... "We must also recognise that the agreement gives the Union the opportunity to be at the centre of dealing with change at the national and local level".

Many postal-workers are now asking themselves why they struggled so hard for so many weeks, and lost so much pay (in the case of Liverpool and London the loss of 3 weeks pay through wildcat action) to be handed a deal which is hardly distinguishable from the original offer.

The CWU boasts that it has separated the questions of pensions from the national dispute, when quite obviously postal-workers see the defence of their pension rights as absolutely fundamental. The question of the pensions has been postponed until the Twelfth of Never.

"The Postal Executive has also agreed a joint statement on the Pension Consolidation. Pensions has been decoupled from the Pay and Modernisation Agreement and given that it's a group-wide issue, will now be subject to a separate national briefing and separate communications". Retiring at 60 means a massive loss of benefits and new entrants into the industry will not be eligible for this pension scheme. Essentially, this was the original Royal Mail position on the issue of pensions as now endorsed by the CWU.

The joint agreement is not a ‘sell-out' but the time-honoured manner in which unions play their role in disputes.

With the question of pay, the 6.9% (5.4% now and the rest at a later date) that the CWU has accepted is practically the same increase that was originally offered by Royal Mail. The sweetener being a lump sum of £175 with acceptance and the possibility of a further £400 some time in the future under Royal Mail's phoney ‘ColleagueShare' scheme. The £400 is contingent on ‘productivity' and ‘flexibility' completed in "phase 2 of the modernisation process". Acceptance of the pay deal means an acceptance of the modernisation process put forward by RM. ‘Flexibility' will change working practices in the industry and was the main concern of all postal-workers and the reason that they fought so hard during the strike. The CWU tried to circumvent this thorny issue by very devious means indeed. It placed the question of change and flexibility onto the local level, which meant by-passing the CWU executive and passing it on to local union reps and RM managers.

Such are the changes to present working practices that workers will be asked to work all sorts of different hours and with management having the ability to use posties at any time. Also group working will be introduced on the Dutch model which sets responsibility for dealing with large volumes of mail traffic on the shoulders of postal-workers.

Royal Mail would not be able to introduce such changes without the determination of the CWU to sell the deal to postal workers. It's yet more evdence that workers need to take struggles into their own hands. Melmoth 3/11/7

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Forty Twenty
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Nov 7 2007 17:55

pec members who voted against the deal
" Jane Loftus, Dave Warren, Lesley McLean, Phil Browne and Mick Kavanagh.

Very unusually, three officers of the union also refused to sign up to the deal. They were assistant secretaries Bob Gibson, Terry Pullinger and Martin Collins."

© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.

http://royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7619

Copy of letter from Leighton & Crozier to all staff. Very vague.

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Steven.
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Nov 27 2007 15:06

workers voted to accept the deal sad

64% yes vote on a 64% turnout:
http://libcom.org/news/uk-royal-mail-workers-vote-yes-settlement-27112007

Mike Harman
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Nov 27 2007 15:16

Well that's shit.

ftony
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Nov 27 2007 16:31

beat me to it. just found out. grr.

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Rob Ray
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Nov 27 2007 17:00

Bugger sad

kev_russ
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Feb 20 2008 14:32

I am an undergraduate fourth year student in Edinburgh and i am currently doing my honours project on the experiences of Royal Mail workers within the recent industrial action. I am an independent researcher with no contact with the Royal Mail and looking to interview staff around the Edinburgh and Glasgow area.

If anyone can help then email me at kev_russ@hotmail.com

Thanks for your time.

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Steven.
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Feb 20 2008 18:47

kev - we'd be interested in your work when it's done, please let us know!

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Steven.
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Sep 5 2009 12:26

Bump, because I was just re reading this thread as I happened to find it again. I'm now going to lock it to keep it archived and preserved as a little slice of history, albeit yet another overall defeat for workers.

I think it's a good example of how useful these forums can be, especially when related to real, concrete events and activity.

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