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Postal workers' national strikes, 2007

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Mike Harman
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Oct 12 2007 15:50

So the gist of this seems to be:

CWU announced rolling strikes last Monday - this would be less than 7 days notice to 5am or midnight or whenever on Monday they're due to start. Criminal negligence if so and someone should lamp Hayes in that case.

Outcome if that's the basis is likely to be:
1. they cancel Monday's strike but they continue from Tuesday and wrap around to Monday again.
2. Invalidated ballot and consequent reballot due to a heavily weighted judgement - in which case you're looking at weeks before they could (and probably all out unofficial nearly everywhere if that happens).

Another option is they somehow try to invalidate the ballot due to the wildcats, which could again force a reballot, see 2.

Mike Harman
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Oct 12 2007 16:25

Nothing to do with unofficial, could mean some offices barred rather than all - see end of story:

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/transport/article2647481.ece

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Red Marriott
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Oct 12 2007 17:07

"The High Court has blocked a 48-hour official postal strike planned to start on Monday.
The Royal Mail was granted an injunction to halt next week's official strike by up to 130,000 Communication Workers' Union members.
Royal Mail says an irregularity in the way the strike notice was issued makes the action illegal.
The union insisted the strike was legitimate because it fully complied with the law."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7038899.stm

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 12 2007 17:08

that's going to make things interesting on the wildcat front...

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Steven.
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Oct 12 2007 17:39

shit. need to update dispatch!!

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 12 2007 18:16

BBC latest ticker: A statement is expected later on a possible deal to end the post strikes. More soon.

ffs (Royal Mail have said they won't budge on 'modernisation' and the government have backed them, so if true this will be a cave-in before any of the other public sector stuff kicks off)

Mike Harman
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Oct 13 2007 10:35

Flexibilisation - "local agreements" = fucked
Pension scheme - closed to new members (no details of existing members)

er that's enough I think to make it impossible for membership to accept, but PEC might accept for them, then who knows.

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wraeth
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Oct 13 2007 11:39
Joseph K. wrote:
BBC latest ticker: A statement is expected later on a possible deal to end the post strikes. More soon.

ffs (Royal Mail have said they won't budge on 'modernisation' and the government have backed them, so if true this will be a cave-in before any of the other public sector stuff kicks off)

And Brendan Barber complicit ... he was there with Hayes and Ward.

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wraeth
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Oct 13 2007 12:25

And did Brendan Barber turn up at the Bob Crow/Metronet meetings? If not - why not? Or rather .... why did he turn up to this one?

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wraeth
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Oct 13 2007 12:26

Smacks of Brown quietly getting hold of B Barber and quietly telling him to sort it. *sniffs at faint smell of wee in air*

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Forty Twenty
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Oct 13 2007 14:03

I'll be voting against that crock of shit. Let's see what propaganda we get sent out and I'll post it on here for us all to share the joke. A two tier workforce has been coming for a while. It started when the CWU decided to go along with RM about sick pay for new starters, and continues with this.

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 14 2007 12:38
the BBC wrote:
the deal is understood to include reform of the company's pension scheme, a pay rise this year of about 2.5% and changes to long-standing working practices.

that'd be the substance of Royal Mail's plans in their entirity, by the sounds of it...

ernie
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Oct 14 2007 18:17

We should not underestimate this is a union and Royal Mail. Whilst the bosses are kicking the posties in the teeth the union is delivering a well aimed blow to their gonads. The unofficials in London and Liverpool (anyone know of any else where?) shows the anger of the workers in these main centers, but if they remain confined to these centres the management and union will isolate and pick them off. An extremely difficult situation for those on wildcat and all other postal workers. The union and management would not have come up with this 'deal' (sic) if they did not feel they could not get it through and perhaps isolate some of the most militant areas.
This is more or less the same attack that was imposed in the NHS as well. There appears to be a strategy to impose such deals on the public sector one by one. First the health unions dispersed the real discontent amongst health workers, now the CWO and bosses have imposed a similar deal. Now there is the attack on BBC workers.

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Alf
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Oct 14 2007 19:32

Agree (although we're not blaming the CWO for this honest) - this is a joint offensive by the bosses and the union. The wildcats express the real dynamic of the movement, but at the level of consciousness there is a very great confusion about the real role the union is playing, and this will be an obstacle in the way of an independent fight back. But the issue is far from settled. The next day or two will be decisive, although there is no guarantee that the struggle won't flare up again; if RM feels it's won on this, that's just the door open to further attacks.

Mike Harman
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Oct 15 2007 18:51

OK today's update.

Liverpool remains out on unofficial strike. They won't go back until they've seen the written agreement. This is the result of a mass meeting on Friday and another one today, so they seem very very solid.

The PEC was supposed to do a press conference at 4pm announcing whether they'd agreed the deal or not, they havent. BBC says it could take until tomorrow.

Two likely reasons for this:

1. They can't agree whether to suppor the agreement or not - which means a teeny tiny chance it'll get rejected, and a larger chance it'll be a close vote

2. They're delaying an announcement in the hope the wildcats will fizzle out before they announce it.

Both these scenarios from RMC, not my own work.

Just seen that a few offices in SE and E London were still out today, not clear how many or how solid but it wasn't all quiet.

Also Leeds on unofficial strike now due to "shift pattern changes" - as far as I can tell this started today.

General feeling on RMC is split - some want to see what the deal is etc., many think they should've stayed out on wildcat (or joined the wildcats if from non-striking offices), and that if the deal is bad they'll have to call everyone out to defeat it. Any vote will take 4-6 weeks - which puts new strike dates either just before Christmas, or just after - neither is a good time to build up momentum from scratch again.

Also there is talk of a strike fund for the Liverpool guys to help them stay out this week. If this could be done so they actually get the money maybe a new thread for that.

So all very complex.

Dispatch fans, we aren't going to publish until things become clearer one way or the other, doesn't seem much point rushing it out today and we jinxed it last time ;)- yes I know we've missed our own deadline at this point, but I think the past five days counts as unforseen circumstances. We'll keep working on everything possible so it's ready to go when needed though.

Quote:
although we're not blaming the CWO for this honest

haha, Mikus' comments on the other thread clearly close to the mark!

Also Alf, it's pretty clear the wildcats are controlled by local CWU reps - both when they go out, spread, and go back. I think this dependence on the shop steward level is something that workers in general need to break out of, but it's wrong to deny that it's there. They're not wildcats against the union by any means (although Liverpool looks like it might be the first to get into that).

update: New Ferry on the Wirral also still out.

Mike Harman
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Oct 15 2007 19:09

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7044362.stm

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wraeth
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Oct 15 2007 19:24

Must've been some resumption of work today in East London, cos I got post and Whitechapel have been solid so far (they usually are to be fair).

Divide & rule innit.

Big up to Liverpool, wish Whitechapel at least would continue on U/IA. I'd give a few quid if someone set up a proper way of donating like paypal or summat.

Pisses me off that £4.5 million (?) went into Nu Labour coffers from the political levy and yet there's no national strike fund (that I'm aware of) PLUS the fucking timing of that notification of the rise in subs for next year made the red mist descend for a few minutes (even if it was innocently/automatedly done - ffs). twisted

Mike Harman
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Oct 15 2007 21:18

http://www.royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6575&highlight=

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Steven.
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Oct 16 2007 00:18
Mike Harman wrote:
Also Alf, it's pretty clear the wildcats are controlled by local CWU reps - both when they go out, spread, and go back. I think this dependence on the shop steward level is something that workers in general need to break out of,

I think that's only the case if the stewards are too pro-union, not if the stewards will act independently of the union - like other workers.

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Devrim
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Oct 16 2007 07:00
Catch wrote:
Also Alf, it's pretty clear the wildcats are controlled by local CWU reps - both when they go out, spread, and go back. I think this dependence on the shop steward level is something that workers in general need to break out of, but it's wrong to deny that it's there. They're not wildcats against the union by any means (although Liverpool looks like it might be the first to get into that).

I think that there is a lot to be said about this. I would imagine that the majority would come through the Branch Secs (shop stewards). I think that the test of power between the workers, and the lowest level of the union comes when the union tries to send them back to work.

Devrim

Mike Harman
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Oct 16 2007 13:47

Dev, our postal correspondent (I wish he'd sign up here so I could use a username instead) reckons the strikes are both organised by shop stewards (especially the spread to other offices if not the official walkout) and ended by them - so I'm not sure to what extent the broader workforce is ahead of that layer of the union at all. Although as well with shop stewards there's a contradiction between them as workers and as representatives of the union (to management, to the workers etc.) - that in itself is partially determined by generalised levels of militancy.

Also:

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=70803&in_page_id=34

Not sure how connected to Leeds this is. Apparently first postal wildcat ever in Yorkshire though!

Mike Harman
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Oct 16 2007 14:13

A very, very confused Telegraph sub editor here:

Wildcat postal strikes are illegal, says judge

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/13/nmail113.xml

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Devrim
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Oct 16 2007 14:30

Catch, I am sure that many of them are organised by the Branch Secs. I speak from my own experience in the PO(which as you know is nearly twenty years out of date) when I say that some of it won't.

For example, at my DO, strikes were generally started after a vote in a meeting (which would have been called by the Branch Sec). However, I also saw people walk out spontaneously when the management had pushed it too far (suspended someone). I imagine that some of these things still happen. I did say that I imagine that the majority comes from the branch Secs.

Devrim

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Alf
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Oct 16 2007 14:40

I wouldn't deny that many of the 'wildcats' are still going through the local union apparatus at one level or another. The point I made about the limited consciousness about the role of the union actually applies even more at this level, because the majority of workers tend to be more cynical about the top union bosses. The leftists in particular are constantly 'freezing' the workers' consciousness around this point. However, none of this alters the fact that the unofficial strikes do express real dynamic.

I see no problem with Dispatch waiting till things are clearer: the original intention was to be more reflective and I think that remains valid.

Mike Harman
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Oct 16 2007 15:31
Quote:

I wouldn't deny that many of the 'wildcats' are still going through the local union apparatus at one level or another. The point I made about the limited consciousness about the role of the union actually applies even more at this level, because the majority of workers tend to be more cynical about the top union bosses. The leftists in particular are constantly 'freezing' the workers' consciousness around this point. However, none of this alters the fact that the unofficial strikes do express real dynamic.

I more or less agree with this. The past week of vacillations have led to a lot of rank and filist sentiment - either actual 'rank and filism' from Trot groups trying to intervene, or more straightforward expressions of anger at Hayes/Ward and the PEC for vacillating, lack of communication etc. Both are split between replacing them later and calling for shop stewards networks (or the official one which is doing meetings around the UK - RMT etc.), although there's a signficant minority who see the wildcats as the only answer to this.

Quote:
I see no problem with Dispatch waiting till things are clearer: the original intention was to be more reflective and I think that remains valid.

Don't think we have a choice now anyway. I may have to change the button's username to nostradamus sad

Terry
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Oct 16 2007 16:26

This message was on a mailing list I'm on. Dunno about it myself but reckon it is information of use:

Quote:
A temp agency in Liverpool has been employing 300 students to sort the
mail after workers walked out in wildcat strikes. The students have
been
picked up in the town centre and driven through picket lines in Royal
Mail vans.

here is a link:
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2007/10/13/students-sort-post-as-strike-goes-on-100252-19944762/

Other than finding this utterly horrifying, I guess I'm thinking that
many of these students have probably not been exposed to notions of
class solidarity very much. One student quoted in the article above was
taking the attitude that they were helping out in a 'crisis'. I
wouldn't
surprise me if they were totally oblivious to the workers not actually
wanting them to do this !!

Anyway, I was sondering whether anyone on this list had any contact
with
students/academics in Liverpool. I'd be really interested in getting in
touch with anyone to try and organise something.

Mark.
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Oct 16 2007 16:28
Mike Harman wrote:
The past week of vacillations have led to a lot of rank and filist sentiment - either actual 'rank and filism' from Trot groups trying to intervene, or more straightforward expressions of anger at Hayes/Ward and the PEC for vacillating, lack of communication etc. Both are split between replacing them later and calling for shop stewards networks (or the official one which is doing meetings around the UK - RMT etc.), although there's a signficant minority who see the wildcats as the only answer to this.

There's a thread about the RMT backed shop stewards network here. I'd be interested to know what people make of it.

Mike Harman
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Oct 16 2007 16:46

More and more posts like this: http://royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6619&highlight=

and towards the end of the thread: http://royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6581&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Mike Harman
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Oct 16 2007 21:20

Delayed announcement another day until tomorrow.

This means two things:

1. It's a shit 'deal'
2. They're trying to starve Liverpool/Leeds wildcats back to work before they announce it.

Not convinced of these things, but you never know so I suggested it anyway: http://www.royalmailchat.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6642

ftony
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Oct 17 2007 12:54

yo catch, those of us who aren't registered can't read those posts...

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