Royal Mail deal not acceptable

Fight needed to safeguard jobs and working conditions The Communication Workers Union (CWU) leadership have agreed a deal with Royal Mail that they say “delivers on the major issues which postal workers have fought for”. The 80 page agreement has been met with a wide range of views amongst CWU members, as it has produced many “winners” but also a large amount of losers. Many delivery workers could lose between £10 and £30 a week.

When looking at the deal we must view where we were and where we are now. Early last year the management started their “modernisation programme”. They charged ahead without agreement, in fact they said they did not need an agreement.

That’s when the union started to campaign against management’s slash and burn. My own branch began the industrial action, when in March last year a small delivery office in Fife took strike action.

This soon spread, particularly in London and other areas. This led to a national ballot and strike action, resulting in an interim agreement. A period of intense negotiations finally produced this national agreement.
Many members will be asking what has been gained by last year’s industrial action.

What must be the starting point is that the aim of management and the government was to smash the CWU as a combative force. Now, all changes to working practices will have to be made with the full involvement of the CWU at all levels. This time last year, Royal Mail were introducing change without agreement or any involvement with the CWU.

Much has been made of an inflation-busting 6.9% three-year pay deal. But this should be viewed as a four-year deal as there was a wage freeze last year. Many delivery workers will lose money. Those employed before the 2007 dispute will still receive an early shift allowance of £12 and get paid for delivering door to door items [junk mail]. They receive a payment of around £25 a week.

This payment is to be replaced with an allowance of £20 a week. With the upper limit of three door-to-door items being scrapped, workers will receive less money for more work.

Much has also been made of the bonuses which workers receive, dependent on certain targets being reached. But this money was already there, it has just been repackaged.

For a long time a shorter working week has been a goal of the union as a way to defend jobs. We welcome any cut in the working week but a cut of only one hour will be viewed as not enough, as Royal Mail have just announced a further 12,500 job losses.

Overall we recognise that there have been some gains made. But International Socialists and Socialist Party members in the CWU don’t believe that we can support a deal that will leave a large section of our membership financially worse off.

If the union leadership had given a clearer lead and linked up to other public sector unions then more could have been achieved.

Unfortunately so much time has elapsed since the last strike, it will be very difficult to lift the membership back into struggle. But reps from the London Division and the Bristol branch rejected the deal at a recent national meeting. And undoubtedly all reps will be fighting to ensure that their members pay and conditions are safeguarded in the coming months.

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

No more cash for banks – Fund Limerick regeneration

Next Article

With friends like these... Brown attacks BA cabin crew

Related Posts

US Health Care Bill – A step forward?

The passage of President Obama’s flagship policy to reform the US healthcare system with a narrow majority of 219-212 in the House of Representatives has been presented by the media as a historic success for his presidency. He “doubled up” and risked all to secure passage of health reform. The reality is, however, somewhat less overwhelming.

No to water charges

Prepare for non-payment in 2012

Water charges are set to be imposed on every household in 2012. It is estimated the charges will be in the region of £369 a year - another hit which working class and middle class families cannot afford to take.

May Day Greetings from the Socialist Party

ELECT SOCIALISTS TO FIGHT THE CUTS, NOT MAKE THEM!

All the main parties in the election campaign have dodged, ducked and dived to avoid the biggest issue facing working class people – the cuts. They all support cuts to public services and jobs and the privatisation of services.While lecturing us that there is not enough money to fund services, without a hint of shame the sectarian parties are outbidding each other over how much they want to slash corporation tax on the banks and for big business! They want to cut an additional £300m a year from hospitals and schools to give to big business in the form of a cut in corporation tax.