Postal workers' national strikes, 2007

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Mike Harman
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Jul 12 2007 21:14
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-can i send document via PM?-

No there's no way to do that at the moment.

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Forty Twenty
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Jul 13 2007 16:05

Talking to some branch officials earlier, it seems all delivery offices in the Warrington and Stockport postcode areas were 100% all out today. Same for Warrington RDC and Warrington Rail Terminal. Needless to say, managers did the usual scab routine of getting lost delivering Special Deliveries, trying to find pillar boxes in unfamiliar locations and being unable to find the keys to the safe to hand out Special Delivery items at the callers office.

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Steven.
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Jul 13 2007 16:09
Forty Twenty wrote:
being unable to find the keys to the safe to hand out Special Delivery items at the callers office.

That's a point - you know of anyone using sabotage to stop scabs working?

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Forty Twenty
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Jul 13 2007 17:30
John. wrote:
Forty Twenty wrote:
being unable to find the keys to the safe to hand out Special Delivery items at the callers office.

That's a point - you know of anyone using sabotage to stop scabs working?

I haven't heard of anything this time, but we live in days of CCTV which means things like super glueing locks might result in the sack.

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Red Marriott
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Jul 13 2007 21:14

The Old St demo today was quite lively, 300(?) present, lots of posties urging escalation of action, talk of 2 day strikes next. Funny, a postie friend told me he had a dental appointment this morning before the demo to get a crown fitted. They couldn't fit the crown cos the postal strike had delayed its delivery.

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Forty Twenty
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Jul 13 2007 21:59

Quite a lot of people are up for escalating the action. I'm one of them. This one day a fortnight is getting us nowhere and there will be a steady stream of scabs if it continues. If they won't go all out, at least lets have a Friday and Monday strike and hit the firms.

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Steven.
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Jul 14 2007 12:36
Forty Twenty wrote:
John. wrote:
Forty Twenty wrote:
being unable to find the keys to the safe to hand out Special Delivery items at the callers office.

That's a point - you know of anyone using sabotage to stop scabs working?

I haven't heard of anything this time, but we live in days of CCTV which means things like super glueing locks might result in the sack.

Yeah true. Related anecdote: I used to work next door to a big Royal Mail admin office and chat to their security guards on our fag breaks. They knew where all the cameras were, and one guy used to tell me about all the equipment he nicked and got out avoiding them. It was a lot.

Of course if it was wanted outside help could be found to do things like that (supergluing, etc.), this forum would be a good place to ask.

Forty Twenty - is there any/much talk about the action possibly tying in with the other public sector workers' pay offers - particularly PCS? We in Unison are pre-ballot balloting now, probably won't be a strike till at least September - are postal workers thinking/hoping the dispute will be over by then? (I started a thread about this stuff here: http://libcom.org/forums/organise/uk-public-sector-pay-dispute-nurses-local-gov-civil-service-post-office-etc )

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Forty Twenty
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Jul 14 2007 14:21

I work in a small delivery office of just under 100 people and although most of them realise other public sector workers are under the cosh (they should do, they've closed down almost all of the local hospital and moved the patients and staff to another one almost ten miles away and are going to close two secondary schools with all that entails for pupils and staff) it doesn't seem to have occured to them that a linked campaign might be the way to turn up the heat on the government. In fact most of them see Leighton and Crozier as a couple of bogey men who have no connection to the government at all. I blame the CWU for not pointing the fact that both bastards were appointed by the Labour Party as they insist on keeping the link with Labour. They're supposed to be bringing out a pamphlet on why maintaining the link with Labour is a good thing to do. This is because more and more people are questioning the idea of voting Labour and asking why the CWU still fund them. Just have a look at www.royalmailchat.co.uk and you will see just how unpopular maintaining the Labour link is every time it gets mentioned.
I think most postal workers are hoping there will be a quick resolution to this, but I don't think there will be unless the CWU step it up a bit. Again, my own view is Billy Hayes (who likes pointing out the photos of Grunwicks etc he has on his office wall) should get on the phone to Serwotka and get a united campaign going.

ernie
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Jul 14 2007 14:52

Forty Twenty, a postal worker on the picket line here said more or less the same to me when we leafleted and tried to sell the press. He felt that the union and bosses should sit down together until they settle things. He did not hold out much hope for the one day strikes. He saw the aim of the management was to go private. Only about 8 on the picket.
Why would Hayes ring Serwotka? Neither of them have the slightest interest in seeing public sector workers uniting struggle. They like all the other unions leaders have done every thing possible to keep public sector workers apart, even within the post office keeping the counter staff separate from the posties.
There is certainly a need for public sector (and private) to get together in order to discuss how best to take the struggle forwards. How to do this is a very important question. In the 1980s in France we saw workers coming together in struggle committees but these were very limited but showed a way forwards. There is a need for militant workers to begin to get together, there has been some efforts on these forums and they certainly offer one possible way.

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Steven.
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Jul 14 2007 15:00
Forty Twenty wrote:
I work in a small delivery office of just under 100 people and although most of them realise other public sector workers are under the cosh (they should do, they've closed down almost all of the local hospital and moved the patients and staff to another one almost ten miles away and are going to close two secondary schools with all that entails for pupils and staff) it doesn't seem to have occured to them that a linked campaign might be the way to turn up the heat on the government. In fact most of them see Leighton and Crozier as a couple of bogey men who have no connection to the government at all.

It's quite strange that... From my POV anyway, since you guys have featured quite prominently in our (local govt workers) discussions about this. A post striker was going to come to our Unison meeting the other week but couldn't make it.

I guess it's because of our general weakness and low militancy, we could probably only win if we struck with stronger groups of workers like civil service, and you guys. If we're on our own then we'll get shafted like we did with pensions - although of course the unions agreed for different groups of workers to be broken up then, letting us get a worse deal than NHS, police, civil service workers, etc. Hopefully this time we will be strong enough not to let them do this. Maybe in the CWU there's more confidence, so workers think they could win on their own? Although I'm pretty unsure about this...

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Jul 14 2007 15:06
ernie wrote:
Why would Hayes ring Serwotka? Neither of them have the slightest interest in seeing public sector workers uniting struggle. They like all the other unions leaders have done every thing possible to keep public sector workers apart, even within the post office keeping the counter staff separate from the posties.

While I think this is broadly accurate, Serwotka has been running around saying he wants united action across the public sector on this, even Unison's leader Prentis has been saying the same thing, that we will work together on it. I'm not sure whether this will actually happen... if there's enough grassroots move for it I'm sure they'll have to, but this would be very hard.

Quote:
There is certainly a need for public sector (and private) to get together in order to discuss how best to take the struggle forwards. How to do this is a very important question. In the 1980s in France we saw workers coming together in struggle committees but these were very limited but showed a way forwards. There is a need for militant workers to begin to get together, there has been some efforts on these forums and they certainly offer one possible way.

I mean that's just the thing, this struggle is so massive it's almost impossible to imagine not just going through the unions. This 2-2.5% deal must affect 4 million workers or something, us trying to decide what to do is challenging because it's so hard to communicate across that number of people.

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Jul 14 2007 16:09
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this struggle is so massive it's almost impossible to imagine not just going through the unions. This 2-2.5% deal must affect 4 million workers or something, us trying to decide what to do is challenging because it's so hard to communicate across that number of people.

Well John - on the Old St demo a postie announced to a crowd of post workers the existence of the royal mailchat site. Maybe some flyers for future strikers' demos publicising a thread on here to discuss wider independent co-ordination? It would make a great improvement on the rivalrous crap mostly being talked on libcom now about organisations - as opposed to practical organisation.

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Jul 14 2007 16:34

good idea ret - we could set up a thread to be extra-carefully modded for practical co-ordination/networking. if someone puts together a leaflet explaining the situation and saying why linking is good and it's up to us, then linking to the thread at the end - could be worth a go.

i mean it's a bit 'outside intervention' for non-public sector workers, but people can always just ignore us, at least we wouldn't be flogging papers! tongue

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Jul 14 2007 17:26
ernie wrote:
Why would Hayes ring Serwotka? Neither of them have the slightest interest in seeing public sector workers uniting struggle. They like all the other unions leaders have done every thing possible to keep public sector workers apart, even within the post office keeping the counter staff separate from the posties.

I couldn't argue with that. I was giving a personal view about what Hayes should do, and not for a second imagining he would do it. Me and Billy have quite a bit in common though. Two scousers employed by Royal Mail, similar age, neither of us too bright in the intelligence stakes. The differences are, I know my limits in that department and Billy is a con-man with the good fortune to have a very large branch behind him who will always go for the local boy in elections. There's another Billy in Liverpool who would buy and sell Hayes if he only had the desire to climb the CWU ladder: Billy Butterworth.

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Jul 14 2007 17:30
Ret Marut wrote:
Quote:
this struggle is so massive it's almost impossible to imagine not just going through the unions. This 2-2.5% deal must affect 4 million workers or something, us trying to decide what to do is challenging because it's so hard to communicate across that number of people.

Well John - on the Old St demo a postie announced to a crowd of post workers the existence of the royal mailchat site. Maybe some flyers for future strikers' demos publicising a thread on here to discuss wider independent co-ordination? It would make a great improvement on the rivalrous crap mostly being talked on libcom now about organisations - as opposed to practical organisation.

This is it mate: www.royalmailchat.co.uk

It's open to postal workers and customers of Royal Mail which is everyone. One or two BNP sympathisers on there just lately, but mostly decent people who are getting a bit anoyed with things just now.

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Jul 16 2007 18:55

North West Regional March & Rally

Liverpool
Saturday 21st July 2007

Assemble at 12.30pm Myrtle Parade, Liverpool City Centre
March to St Georges Hall 1.00pm

Guest Speakers
Billy Hayes – General Secretary
Frank Hont- Regional Secretary UNISON
Kieran Quinn – CWU Regional officer
Mark Walsh – Branch Secretary Merseyside Amal

Jane Loftus – CWU President (Chair)

Mike Harman
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Jul 16 2007 20:09

ACAS called in: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article2080470.ece

Mike Harman
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Jul 16 2007 20:11

Bit out of date this, just found on royalmailchat:

Quote:
May:
Macclesfield Express

MAIL mayhem struck thousands of residents last week as Macclesfield postal workers walked out in protest against the suspension of a ‘postie’ suffering with chronic renal failure.

The unofficial strike – the first in 20 years – left houses in the SK10 and SK11 areas without their post, and the backlog was still being shifted this morning (Wednesday).

Royal Mail was forced to freeze mail at the Jordangate sorting office after the suspension of Simon Heathcote, 36, of Wilwick Lane, Weston, sparked anger in 70 colleagues who rallied round and walked out.

Simon, who lives with his wife, Victoria, also 36, and two-year-old daughter Emily-Rose – and who spends eight hours a night on a life-saving dialysis machine – was sent home with pay on Friday (April, 27) after he failed to complete his round.

Bosses suspended him for up to six weeks for investigation just two days after he found out he was on a kidney transplant list. But he was reinstated the day after strike action.

Simon, whose wife, Victoria, is a David Lewis Centre senior care officer, said: "I’m just so relieved it’s all over. It was annoying that the lads had lost a day’s pay and Macclesfield had lost a day’s mail – all needlessly."

A postman for three years, Simon said he was sent out for failing to complete his round which he delivers in a van, but claims he followed the correct procedures to let them know in advance that he would not be able to do overtime.

He added: "I would like to thank my colleagues for such an amazing show of support, it is so brilliant to know people would do that."

He said the job was vital to help support his family.

Simon – who has a catheter permanently attached to his abdomen – was sent home just two days after receiving the good news he was on the list for a life-saving kidney transplant.

The keen Macclesfield Town fan, who has a dialysis machine set up in his home, said: "I felt so relieved and hopeful when I got the letter from the hospital.

"I had warned them I didn’t think I’d be able to complete my round on the Thursday. The next day I came into work and at 6am I was called into the office and suspended."

Postal workers trooped out at 6am and stood on Jordangate for two hours before going home.

Royal Mail agreed to negotiate with Simon on the condition his colleagues returned to work on Saturday.

The Communication Workers Union – who have said the situation could have been handled better by Royal Mail – then negotiated Simon’s return.

Just one day after the unofficial strike, Simon – who is on a pre-booked week-long holiday to spend time with wife Victoria, 36 and daughter– was reinstated.

Communication Workers Union area delivery representative, Chris Macindeor, said: "The important thing now is that this has ended satisfactorily for us and, more importantly Simon is back at work, as is everyone else.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "The investigation into this matter is still ongoing. We cannot discuss an individual personnel issue."

He said there was was a backlog, but the situation should be resolved by today (Wednesday).

On the day of the unofficial strike, one fellow postman said: "We just feel we have to stand by Simon and we will not be going back to work today."

The keen Macclesfield Town supporter has been on light duties, delivering from a van, for a year after being diagnosed and treated for chronic double kidney failure at Manchester Royal Infirmary. He hopes to have the transplant within two years.

He said: "I am quite weak and I do work as hard as I can but I get tired quite easily.

"I love the job and it’s something I am able to do. I want to keep working as much as I can, I am the main earner and it’s vital for my family."

Quote:
April.
A Dundee MP has called for action to be taken at a national level to solve ongoing problems at the city’s East Delivery Office after a wildcat strike this morning (writes Graeme Cleland).
Staff staged a mass walk-out in support of a colleague allegedly sacked after being ill.

The workers left their posts and congregated outside the depot at around 6.30am after learning the fate of their colleague, apparently dismissed for absence following a serious illness.

While they returned to their posts after two hours and Royal Mail subsequently claimed all mail had gone out, the incident is only part of a catalogue of troubled industrial relations at the office.

After the disruption, Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie demanded action at a national level to solve the problems at the depot.

He met Royal Mail managers at the office for talks just last month after a string of complaints about poor service — described as “shambolic” by his constituents.

However, he said it appeared matters had not improved.

Mike Harman
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Jul 16 2007 20:41

apparently there's a wildcat in Oxford. Can't find anything in news yet.

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Jul 16 2007 22:11

Apparently during this strike there has been unofficial action, in that shifts coming in after the strike has officially ended have often stayed away if pickets were still there.

edit - oxford wildcat: http://libcom.org/news/oxford-mail-centre-wildcat-strike-16072007

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Jul 18 2007 16:13

This will cause quite a bit of disruption, but all the public will notice apart from a drop off in mail on some days and a big increase on others is there will be no deliveries on Saturday 28 July and Thursday 31 July.

Proposed Programme for Industrial Action over 2 Weeks on Functional/Site Basis

Week 1

• Mail Centres and Cash Handling – duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 19.00 Wednesday 25th July 2007 until 19.00 Thursday 26th July 2007.

• MDECs – duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 12 noon Thursday 26th July 2007 until 12 noon Friday 27th July 2007.

• International/HWDC – duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 12 noon Friday 27th July 2007 until 12 noon Saturday 28th July 2007.

• Deliveries and Separate Collection Hubs - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 19.00 Friday 27th July 2007 until 19.00 Saturday 28th July 2007.

Week 2

• Airports – duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 12 noon Monday 30th July 2007 until 12 noon Tuesday 31st July 2007.

• Mail Centres and Cash Handling – duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 03.00 Tuesday 31st July 2007 until 03.00 Wednesday 1st August 2007.

• Network - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 03.00 Wednesday 1st August 2007 until 03.00 Thursday 2nd August 2007.

• Deliveries and Separate Collection Hubs – duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 03.00 Thursday 2nd August 2007 until

03.00 Friday 3rd August 2007.

• Airports - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 19.00 Friday 3rd August 2007 until 19.00 Saturday 4th August 2007.

• MDECs - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 03.00 Saturday 4th August 2007 until 03.00 Sunday 5th August 2007.

Week 3

• International/HWDC – duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 19.00 Monday 6th August 2007 until 19.00 Tuesday 7th August 2007.

• Network – duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 12 noon Tuesday 7th August 2007 until 12 noon Wednesday 8th August 2007

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Jul 19 2007 09:51

Oxford wildcat strike still on, Abingdon wildcat gets a worker re-instated:
http://libcom.org/news/oxford-postal-strike-continues-abingdon-wildcats-19072007

Bristol strike over sickness:
http://libcom.org/news/more-royal-mail-strikes-bristol-16072007

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Jul 19 2007 14:25

http://libcom.org/news/oxford-postal-strike-continues-abingdon-wildcats-19072007

"Today, managers in shirts and ties were seen driving Royal Mail vans out of the depot."

It's not unusual for managers to wear uniform jackets and coats when scabbing on driving duties. This is probably to give the public the idea that there is less rank and file support for the strike than there actually is.

The CWU has sent a letter to all branches asking members not to start work before their official start time (unpaid overtime) to weigh all bags (16k maximum) and not to use their own private cars to deliver mail from or store main in while delivering. If everyone did this, Royal Mail could not cope, but an old established attitude exists in which people insist on racing around taking whatever shortcuts are possible to get home a bit earlier. It does cost jobs as wherever a postman/woman uses a car to convey several bags of mail and themselves to their delivery, management can do with less Royal Mail drivers and not install pouch boxes to safely hold mail until the postie is ready to pick it up. Staff using cars are supposed to show their MOT Certificates and driving licences to a manager. They then sign a 'bond' which staff imagine has them covered for insurance purposes. It doesn't. It might cover them if they carry one bag only (and this is a 'grey' area) but it certainly doesn't if they have more than one bag in the car. How do I know? I asked at the Divisional Police HQ and the copper in charge of traffic told me they aren't insured for business purposes and to become insured involves taking out their own insurance. The so-called insurance they think they have is worthless.

Mike Harman
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Jul 19 2007 22:46

Oxford mass meeting decided to stay out until Monday.

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Steven.
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Jul 19 2007 23:06

we need to write up the new national plan of action for news, and add an update about oxford to the story

also strikes against sub-inflation rises are hitting the private sector - 1,000 Heinz workers just wildcatted over 3.6% offer:
http://libcom.org/news/heinz-workers-defy-union-walk-out-19072007

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Jul 20 2007 07:44

some of the comments on the oxford mail site about the wildcat there are pretty depressing, though the kind of people who write to local papers are often esteemed members of the reactionary halfwit community. i wouldn't be surprised if half the comments are by royal mail managers - has anyone come across any real-world working class people with such views?

Quote:
If I am in dispute with my boss, I don't walk out and get my mates to join me.

Unprofessional, disproportionate and illegal [sic].

Quote:
now we all know what uncaring, no-pride-in-the-work
, marxist, lazy, trouble making people call the shots at the depot -so we can look forward to the whole lot being fired.

I will celebrate that day.

Quote:
The problem with Cowley is that some senior "workers" has got it all backwards, and believe they are indeed running the whole thing. I suggest Mr Cullen is made a "boss" with all that it entails, and then we'll see how he does. My guess is that he would refuse this responsibility, as he is only good at whinging and whipping up trouble. He doesn't want to face any realities about budget constraints etc.
Quote:
This is 2007 and business and working methodologies have changed. Perhaps it is time the Oxford postal force did too?
Quote:
If you can't back things up then just quit your jobs as you simply can't seem to hack working in the real world. Society is too full of workshy layabouts who exploit the rules for their own selfish benefits.... [no he's not talking about the bosses roll eyes]

and a clue to the class background of these views ...

Quote:
This strike may put me out of business.

note: wildcats are not illegal - they are not a criminal offence you can be arrested for - they are only unlawful, which means your only protection from sacking is solidarity and not the law

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Jul 20 2007 12:02

Haven't had a chance to check these out yet...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_jeZClT2i8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7o9heq01dI

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Jul 20 2007 13:23

Here's the work of a scab driver :D

Lots of strike pics and videos here, although ones with scabs or managers in had to be taken off the thread:
http://www.royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2156

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Jul 20 2007 13:37
Forty Twenty wrote:
John. wrote:
Forty Twenty wrote:
being unable to find the keys to the safe to hand out Special Delivery items at the callers office.

That's a point - you know of anyone using sabotage to stop scabs working?

I haven't heard of anything this time, but we live in days of CCTV which means things like super glueing locks might result in the sack.

There's been at least one case of gates being padlocked shut:

Quote:
afternoon brothers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WEST PARK ,PLYMOUTH IS RIGHT BEHIND EVERYBODY . YESTERDAY WAS A GREAT DAY TO BE A MEMBER ......................."somebody " locked the gates witha pad lock and chain ..... the D.O.M trying to saw through it with a hacksaw...( only after they tried to break it with a hammer !!!!!!!????????????muppets !) ... infront of 30 blokes and women standing proud on the picket line !!!!! you can't buy moments like it absolutely priceless !!!!!


I hear there's a vid on youtube as well, and that the manager broke his saw!

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Jul 20 2007 15:40

I'm hoping to get to that rally in Liverpool tomorrow if I can get finished in time. I'll put something on here tomorrow night (if I haven't had too much ale) or Sunday.
Thanks to everyone connected with libcom for the support.

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