Postal workers' national strikes, 2007

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Thrashing_chomsky
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Jul 24 2007 09:29

I'm thinking of writing 'TO SCAB' on a few envelopes and posting them ready for the strike...

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Devrim
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Jul 24 2007 09:54
Thrashing_chomsky wrote:
I'm thinking of writing 'TO SCAB' on a few envelopes and posting them ready for the strike...

And the fella reading it will in all likely hood be a striker after the dispute has ended, and they are clearing the backlog.
Devrim

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Forty Twenty
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Jul 24 2007 15:01

There seem to be more staff doing the job as it should be done i.e not starting work before the official starting time, not using cars etc. Our acting office manager has been called away to another office this morning probably to deliver mail which has been brought back.. A couple of big towns involved including St Helens and Warrington according to one of our branch officials.

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Steven.
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Jul 24 2007 15:16

Mirror reveal leaked plan to slash postal workers pensions:
http://libcom.org/news/royal-mail-secret-pensions-robbery-plan-24072007

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Devrim
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Jul 24 2007 15:22
Forty Twenty wrote:
There seem to be more staff doing the job as it should be done i.e not starting work before the official starting time, not using cars etc. Our acting office manager has been called away to another office this morning probably to deliver mail which has been brought back.. A couple of big towns involved including St Helens and Warrington according to one of our branch officials.

It is very good news. When we had a work to rule/overtime ban because they wouldn't give us enough hours for the Christmas presure, it completely destroyed the normal workings of the system. We thought it wa bad, we had to clamber over bags of mal just to get into our office. Most people weren't delivering anything (9.15 cutoff in London in those days). We later found out that they were hiding our mail in offices all over the country. We finished the Christams cards in mid February.

In my opinion the most important thing is for workers to hold mass meetings where they can discuss how to struggle. You said that kitchen meetings were no longer held in your office since they stopped the second delivery. I think that the most important thing for militants to do at the moment is to call for/organise mass meetings, and then in those meetings argue for 'doing the job as it should be done' as Forty Twenty so beautifully put it.

From there when you have the forum for workers to discuss how to struggle, and how to organise that struggle you can start to build for the second steps.

It is important to walk before you can run though, and holding mass meetings, which give workers some steps, however small, to controling their own struggle is that first step.

What is the IWW doing, Forty Twenty? Have you done any leaflets? Can you provides us with links? Thanks.

Devrim

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Forty Twenty
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Jul 24 2007 16:35

The IWW website has been redundant since 2001 as far as Royal Mail is concerned and it's a good few years since we had any leaflets out. However, someone has taken over the running of the website and there have been some new news items on there just lately, one being a report on the second strike a week last Friday. A couple of us have been asked to write some articles about the strike which I think could go on the website. I wrote a piece a couple of months ago about car use and one about Billy Hayes' involvement with trade unionists in Columbia while supporting the party which helps fund fascist militias there which didn't get used and which I lost when my last computer gave up the ghost. Hopefully these problems are behind us and the site will have regular updates. It's a problem we all face when we are all volunteers.
As for calling mass meetings, the big problem is the CWU bureaucracy. For instance I phoned the Area Rep this morning to ask if he would visit our office and try to persuade the car users to stop and join in with other nearby offices in our branch. He can't come unless our rep invites him. We can only meet outside working hours and off RM property which means only the hard core, the nosey and the grassers bother turning up. We've had three meetings and only about twenty of a staff of 95 have bothered coming. To be honest, it's depressing as our office was always very militant. Both strikes were 100% solid but people feel let down by the CWU at national level over recent years and in our case, the rep has a reputation for looking after himself which hasn't helped.
By the way, if you look on royalmailchat, it seems the CWU have made quite an oversight and Hull mail centre will have to work while everyone else in on strike on Saturday.

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Alf
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Jul 24 2007 16:45

I agree with Devrim about the importance of fighting for mass meetings to discuss where this strike is going. Some people seem to think that the CWU is 'stepping up the action' with these rolling strikes here there and everywhere but we have seen the unions use this tactic to exhaust and confuse people and above all to make them completely dependent on what the union is telling them to do. The Unison strikes over pay a few years ago are a case in point.
The number of wildcats in local offices about various issues seems to show that there is a real feeling of frustration and anger still, but they are very dispersed and the CWU's 'clever tactics' seems to be a recipe for increasing the dispersal.
It would be interesting to hear whether people think there is a basis for any kind of common activity around the simple and straightforward call for mass meetings to control the struggle.

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Devrim
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Jul 24 2007 16:47
Forty Twenty wrote:
We can only meet outside working hours and off RM property which means only the hard core, the nosey and the grassers bother turning up. We've had three meetings and only about twenty of a staff of 95 have bothered coming. To be honest, it's depressing as our office was always very militant.

Yes that does sound quite depressing. Still if it is only twenty out of ninety five, you know where you are starting from, and it is better than ten out of ninety five.

Back in the 80s it was common to hold meetings on PO property, and in working hours. In our office we eve held mass meetings in the canteen during strikes.

Forty Twenty wrote:
Both strikes were 100% solid but people feel let down by the CWU at national level over recent years and in our case,

On this neither point surprises me. It was te same twenty years ago.

Forty Twenty wrote:
As for calling mass meetings, the big problem is the CWU bureaucracy. For instance I phoned the Area Rep this morning to ask if he would visit our office and try to persuade the car users to stop and join in with other nearby offices in our branch. He can't come unless our rep invites him.

This is somrthing that has changed organistionaly. In the UCW an SDO was a branch. I thnk the important point here though is that the union will not do anything to build power from the office floor. You have to start from where you are which is with twenty people.

My best wises go with you.

Devrim

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Forty Twenty
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Jul 26 2007 16:14

Something of a cock-up overnight. I hear Crewe, Liverpool, Glasgow, Portsmouth Mail Centres (who all have delivery offices attached to them) worked normally last night because the wording on the letter to Royal Mail wasn't clear enough.
The IWW are planning on bringing out a leaflet about the dispute.

Mike Harman
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Jul 26 2007 18:58

http://www.socialist worker.co.uk/art.php?id=12592

Quote:
A post office manager driving a Royal Mail articulated lorry was involved in a fatal accident in Exeter this morning.

The collision, which occurred at 6.30am on the A379 Bridge Road, killed the 53-year old driver of an Astra van, and injured his passenger.

Police have arrested the driver of the lorry, a 46 year-old man from Newton Abbot, on suspicion of causing death by careless driving, and investigations are ongoing. No one has been charged at this stage.

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jef costello
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Jul 28 2007 22:10
Quote:
Postal workers strike on Saturday 28 July and Thursday 2 August

Having responded magnificently on the two previous strike days, the posties have to repeat the turn- out again on Saturday and Thursday. Once more with the leaflets , posters , public petitions and getting cars/buses/vans to “toot” in support and so on.

Haringey Trades Union Council at their meeting this month decided to appeal for wider support :

q As the next strike in at the week end, we are asking all union members to visit the picket lines, help give out leaflets and so on. The picket should be there from 5 a m to about 10 a m . The offices are at -

N17 -Moorefield Rd, behind Bruce Grove BR
N4/ N15 - Sainsbury's, Green Lanes, car park access to the right
N8 -Tottenham Lane, opposite Hornsey BR,
N10 - Muswell Hill Broadway, next to Post Office, [vehicle assess

behind offices]
N22 -Wood Green, [opposite Alexandra Palace BR, [vehicle assess

behind offices]

q Secondly, to further show solidarity, we ask for workplace deputations to again go to the picket lines on the Thursday as a UCU group did last time. If money has been collected, please take it along. The government are using this dispute as a public sector model so many other workers conditions are indirectly involved

I'm actually home this weekend, wish I'd seen this earlier.

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Steven.
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Jul 31 2007 17:27

5,000 wildcat in glasgow:
http://libcom.org/news/glasgow-5-000-postal-workers-unofficial-action-31072007

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Steven.
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Aug 1 2007 09:57

This shit is kicking off - edinburgh's just wildcatted a few minutes ago, following glasgow and motherwell:
http://libcom.org/news/royal-mail-wildcat-strikes-spread-post-piles-01082007

Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2007 17:57

CWU leadership met RM last night at request of ACAS. They're going to have talks about talks tomorrow.

Rolling strikes still going ahead, but they were supposed to announce new strike action yesterday, they didn't, which means the earliest possible date for new official strikes is the 8th/9th August.

Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2007 18:41

OK so it looks like they're announcing tomorrow, presumably more of the same:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6926790.stm

Quote:
Postal unions are planning another two weeks of strike action in a further escalation of their dispute with Royal Mail, the BBC has learned.

The current period of staggered stoppages was due to end on 7 August.

But the Communication Workers Union is expected to announce on Thursday it will extend the action until 20 August.

Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2007 19:19

20 polish agency workers refused to cross a picket line in Watford:

http://www.socialist worker.co.uk/art.php?id=12628

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Forty Twenty
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Aug 1 2007 19:26

Looks as if Liverpool are out on strike.

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Forty Twenty
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Aug 1 2007 19:28
Mike Harman wrote:
20 polish agency workers refused to cross a picket line in Watford:

http://www.socialist worker.co.uk/art.php?id=12628

That should shut some of the anti-immigrant soft arses up.

Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2007 19:31

Looks like many more in Scotland could be out by tomorrow - talks broke down in Edingburgh, lots of drivers refusing to cross lines at places on wildcat - which means they'll go back , get suspended, more offices out. Some kind of meeting tomorrow in Glasgow at 10am.

edit: also Newcastle may be out on wildcat as well.

Mike Harman
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Aug 1 2007 21:00

Aberdeen out.

http://www.royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3149&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=90
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/6925955.stm

Mike Harman
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Aug 2 2007 07:14

Liverpool is out and Polish agency workers refused to cross picket lines and went down the pub.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 2 2007 07:24

do we know what agencies they're using? i feel a bit of secondary picketing coming on (by non-posties of course officer)

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Steven.
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Aug 2 2007 09:01
Joseph K. wrote:
do we know what agencies they're using? i feel a bit of secondary picketing coming on (by non-posties of course officer)

Dev was saying that basically the agency workers are pretty irrelevant. Which seeing as there are now 200 million items of mail undelivered seems pretty likely to be right. Still if it could help build solidarity and it didn't detract from other stuff i reckon it'd be cool.

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Rob Ray
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Aug 2 2007 12:52

500 out from Tyneside overnight. I think that's an exclusive btw, from Tom Jennings to the Freedom account, so if anyone's doing a roundup for today...

Quote:
August 2nd: Sorting staff and posties from the night and early shifts staged a wildcat strike at Team Valley, Gateshead, in support of a worker suspended for refusing to handle embargoed mail.

edit: Scotsman posted this an hour ago, which has a very brief mention confirming it but nowt else.

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Steven.
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Aug 2 2007 12:54
Saii wrote:
500 out from Tyneside overnight. I think that's an exclusive btw, from Tom Jennings to the Freedom account, so if anyone's doing a roundup for today...

is that you volunteering saii?
wink

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Rob Ray
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Aug 2 2007 12:55

Nope, sorry, just finishing my lunch and then have work/the rest of Freedom to do.

MalFunction
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Aug 2 2007 14:43

this was the CWU plan of action as of 31st July:

Quote:
31 July 2007
98 Per Cent Support From Postal Workers For Latest Strike Action

The second phase of rolling strike action against Royal Mail commenced this week with 98 per cent support for action in mail centres today.

Dave Ward, Deputy General Secretary said: “The union has once again extended its invitation to Royal Mail management to come and negotiate seriously. As the CWU’s action starts to bite some 80 million items of mail are now backlogged within the system. So pressure must be mounting on RM chairman Allan Leighton and chief executive Adam Crozier to come and negotiate.”

The rolling programme for this week includes:

* The withdrawal of labour in mail centres and cash handling from 3 am today to 3 am tomorrow.

* The withdrawal of labour in the network from 3am on Wednesday 1 August to 3 am on Thursday 2 August.

* Strike action at deliveries and separate collection hubs from 3 am on Thursday 2 August to 3am on Friday 3 August.

* Strike action from 19.00 at airports on Friday 3 August until 19.00 on Saturday 4 August.

* Strike action at MDECS from 3 am on Saturday 4 August to 3 am on Sunday 5 August.

http://www.cwu.org/news.asp?step=3&NID=1769

I wondered why we didn't get any post this morning.

(I'm not up to speed on what the jargon means on the item above. what do collection hubs, mail centres, network refer to - different levels of sorting offices?)

(Is there an on-line unofficial postal workers e-mail list or website somewhere where information on the dispute can be quickly exchanged?)

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Devrim
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Aug 2 2007 14:45
John. wrote:
Dev was saying that basically the agency workers are pretty irrelevant.

I said they were irrelevant in terms of running the service. Secondary picketting is a good thing in itself.
Devrim

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Forty Twenty
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Aug 2 2007 15:23

MDECS are centres where mail is electronically scanned or the postcode manually keyed into the system. I've never visited one, but the people there are the lowest paid employees of Royal Mail.
A Collection Hub is just an office (Delivery Office usually) where surrounding delivery offices take their mail to after it has been collected from pillarboxes, firms and post offices. It is then loaded onto a large van (a 600) and taken to the nearest Mail Centre. The mail centre sort it to different towns and send it on using the network to its destination (another mail centre covering that area). When it arrives, it is then mechanically sorted using the postcode to the area of the town (the Walk) it is to be delivered to. If it can't be mechanically sorted, it is sorted manually (Inward Primary Sorting, or IPS) to the different walks. It is then sorted (known as 'prepping') to the individual delivery in the order it will be delivered on a sorting frame known as a RM2000. When the postman/woman goes on delivery, all they have to do is follow the order the mail has been 'prepped' in and in theory, shouldn't get lost.
A 'dropbag' or 'packetbag' is one of those grey sacks which usually contain packets. A packet is something a postie carries, unless it is large or very heavy. Not to be confused with a parcel.
A 'York' is a large metal cage which contains dropbags or trays of mail.
A 'flat' is a large, usually A4 sized letter.
Door 2 Door items are the unadressed leaflets delivered by Royal Mail.
'Docket' is what posties call overtime. It used to have to be booked on an overtime docket.
A '739' is a card you leave when a customer is out to let them know you have attempted to deliver a packet or something which requires a signature.
A DOM is a Delivery Office Manager. (A DUM!)
A Line Manager is the stage down from a DOM and several stages down from an earthworm.

Mike Harman
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Aug 2 2007 17:08

Two more weeks of rolling action, same drill as before:

Quote:
Week 3

• Mail Centres and Airports - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 19.00 Thursday 9th August 2007 and before 19.00 Friday 10th August 2007.

• MDECs - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 12 noon Friday 10th August 2007 and before 12 noon Saturday 11th August 2007.

• Deliveries and Separate Collection Hubs - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 19.00 Friday 10th August 2007 and before 19.00 Saturday 11th August 2007.

Week 4

• Network and International/HWDC - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 19.00 Monday 13th August 2007 and before 19.00 Tuesday 14th August 2007.

• Airports - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 12 noon Tuesday 14th August 2007 and before 12 noon Wednesday 15th August 2007.

• Mail Centres - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 19.00 Wednesday 15th August 2007 and before 19.00 Thursday 16th August 2007.

• MDECs - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 12 noon Thursday 16th August 2007 and before 12 noon Friday 17th August 2007.

• Deliveries and Separate Collection Hubs - duties, Scheduled Attendance and overtime commencing at or after 19.00 Thursday 16th August 2007 and before 19.00 Friday 17th August 2007.

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