Postal Strikes, Friday 19th June 2009 and CWU environment motion (from CWU website)
As Royal Mail managers attended a swanky awards party in Alexandra Palace, over 9,000 postal workers in Edinburgh mail centre and London took 24 hours of strike action on Friday 19th June 2009. Reports from some of the picket lines are below.
Around 100 striking CWU members gathered at the East London Mail Centre at Bromley-by-Bow on the first day of the union's industrial action in protest against Royal Mail's "vicious" programme of cutbacks which violates existing national agreements.
John Coakley, east London delivery rep said that members at the site were "100 per cent solid. This will give a strong message to Royal Mail. Their cutbacks are irrational and just plain daft.
And John Ayres, east and north London distribution rep, agreed, adding: "Our message to Royal Mail is: 'Get back to the negotiating and start talking to us about a new national agreement."
Speaking to the pickets, PEC member Mark Baulch thanked everyone for turning out, describing the day's action as "fantastic, you're second to none.
"This is going to be a tough fight, but if we all stick together, we can win."
And Micky Rowell told us the same story at nearby Docklands Delivery Office, where he serves as CWU unit rep.
"It's been overwhelming, the best-ever turnout for a picket line. Over half the office is here - even the non-union members." he explained, while passing motorists, bus drivers and pedestrians hooted their horns in support and pickets cheered in reply.
"Our guys are determined. We're not opposed to modernisation, but change must come by agreement - not by imposition."
Strikers at Bow Delivery Office are "passionately opposed" to the company's strategy, according to unit rep Vince Micallef, who insisted that his members' "spirits are high and stronger than ever.
"All we want is a negotiated agreement," Vince added.
And Whitechapel's Bob Armitage - another unit rep reporting "100 per cent support" - vowed: "All our people are up for it."
Speaking to around 100 striking CWU members outside Royal Mail's new central London headquarters, CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said that today's industrial action in the capital been "absolutely rock solid."
And Dave vowed that the union will "fight every inch of the way" in defence of postal workers' rights and to save this vital public service.
Rejecting claims by the company that the union opposes modernisation, he insisted that the CWU fully backs the goal of a modern and successful Royal Mail.
"But the CWU wants change by agreement, while Royal Mail wants to impose change by diktat," he explained, accusing management of "doing the government's bidding and trying to privatise Royal Mail at the same time."
To rousing cheers, Dave concluded his speech by pledging: "We're going to fight every inch of the way, because we care about this service and about the public."
London divisional reps Martin Walsh and Mark Palfrey confirmed reports from around the capital indicating that the strike had been "rock-solid everywhere."
CWU members had, Martin said: "Responded magnificently, we've had almost 10,000 members out and I've been getting reports of big pickets all over town - bigger than we had during the 2007 strike.
And Mark added that, if agreement is not reached, further strikes could take place in a couple of weeks with an extra 4,000 members walking out.
"We want Royal Mail to negotiate, but, if they don't we'll strike again," he warned.
For any Green who thinks Greens have no common cause with Unions , this is what was passed at the last CWU conference:
“Conference acknowledges the importance of climate change as an environmental issue and the response of the trade union movement to it. The CWU should therefore support a Green New Deal that encompasses the use of postal and telecommunications services to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The CWU should also use its influence to encourage the use of renewable energy wherever possible.
The NEC are therefore instructed to purse this policy.”