Subversion on the postal workers dispute, mid 1990s.
As this is written the one day of stike action called by the Communication Workers Union at Royal Mail is six days off. The strike is mainly over Royal Mail's burning desire to introduce teamworking and a system of one hundred per cent continous improvement. The also want us, in return for an hour and a half reduction in hours over a week, to be available to work an extra fifteen minutes at the end of each duty for nothing, i.e. one and a half hours a week! They also want to give us job security until the year 2000, which is a massive three and a half years! And since only a small percentage of Royal Mail employees are on short-term contracts this can only mean that around the turn of this miserable century they want to put us all on contracts. In return for this "new way of working" they say they will increase basic pay but these words come from the rabid dogs who have been busy for ages trying to reduce the total wage bill - even on their own figures 30% will be worse off!
Teamworking means that delivery personnel will have to work in small teams, arranging our own holidays and covering each others duties when anyone is on holiday or sick. It is not certain that we will be paid overtime for covering each others duties. Allied to this is the concept of one hundred per cent continous improvement which means that we have to clear the office completely of mail everyday and continously improve our performance (productivity has risen 60% over the last few years, but with no increase in staff). If we fail at any point then we will lose the bonus that Royal Mail has decided will be the carrot that ensures we are obedient and fast working donkeys. Teamworking will turn us against each other because we will learn to rely on their bonus (a paltry maximum of £130 per month) and if anyone fails then they will be to blame for the whole office losing its bonus. It is also possible that overtime money (if there is any!) for covering sick or holiday absences will come out of the bonus!
The introduction of these plans by Royal Mail will probably mean that Postman Pat, who had the cushiest round in the entire country, will resort to taking an overdose of paracetamols.
Before the result of the strike ballot Royal Mail managers had been secretly instructed to introduce teamworking immediately if the result had been no to industrial action. And they are the ones who go on and on and on about negotiations and more importantly, that they want our views and our participation. Do you think maybe they are just a bunch of slimy, untrustworthy cheats?
Finally, a little bit about the tight red tape of union law these days (but don't feel sorry for the union bosses!!). All industrial action, in order to be legal, has to be the result of a ballot. Once the ballot results are in then industrial action has to be taken within 28 days or another ballot has to be taken. Also there has to be 7 days notice of the commencement of industrial action. So, in order for further industrial action to be legal at least one day has to be called within the 28 day period.
It is likely that Royal Mail will try to introduce teamworking anyway, which will result in unnoficial walkouts. Ever mindful of their huge salaries and the massive funds of the union our union bosses will try to make sure their arses are covered as best as possible in the event of any undisciplined action taken by us lowly pawns.
of course, SUBVERSION says:
ALL OUT UNTIL WE DESTROY THE ENTIRE MONEY SYSTEM!!
[see SUBVERSION #18 for further background to the current troubles]