Peter Bird reports from a lively CWU strike rally in London which saw striking postal workers joined by trade unionists and activists bring solidarity and connecting the struggles
There was little doubt today about the level of support for the CWU Royal Mail strike, or about their determination to see the dispute out. A throng of people assembled outside the Mount Pleasant premises for a lunch time rally. Virtually all of them had already attended a picket line earlier in the day.
Dave Ward, CWU General Secretary, recalled how his members had been heroic throughout the pandemic. They had, in spite of not always having the right protective equipment, worked to keep the services running. Many of them had lost their lives in the process.
He drew a stark contrast by relating that the company had made £758 million in profit; £400 million had been paid out to shareholders. In fact, examination of gross figures, including share buyback practices, raised that figure to over £560 million. Yet his union members had been offered a 2% pay rise!
Senior managers had received high bonuses for meeting targets. He went on to say that his members would settle for the same. The 2% was imposed not negotiated. He refuted management claims that the offer was worth 5.5% and that his members were adverse to changing practices. The 5.5% figure included a lump sum bonus which would not be consolidated and Royal Mail had been given every bit of modernisation they had previously asked for.
Dave Ward went on to say:
“In the UK during the 2008 financial crises, the pandemic, and the cost of living crises, these people [gesturing towards the offices], other businesses, multi-national companies, and useless politicians, expected working people to pay the price... Enough is enough. We will fight back against what’s going on.”
Jo Grady, General Secretary of the UCU spoke of how the disparity between the rewards of senior management and those of rank-and-file staff existed in her field too. She paid tribute to the CWU for attending every time the UCU had a rally or demonstration to further their disputes. She gave an emphatic message of solidarity.
Mick Lynch took the microphone and spoke of similar disparities. He went on to say:
“Enough is enough, we say no! “ He called for, “A summer of solidarity, through next year, round the clock. CWU, Unite, the GMB, RMT, UCU, and all trade unions must motivate their members, come to the flag, and say yes to industrial action across the UK.”
He turned his attention to politicians:
“We have to redress the balance in society, not be dictated to by people from Eton and Harrow. Listen to working people. If not we’ll boot you out as soon as possible.”
To Keir Starmer he said:
“Wake up and smell the coffee. You’re either with us or you’re against us.”
He concluded by echoing the determination already expressed: “We’re not going away until we get a settlement”.
The current schedule for CWU action is:
- Royal Mail 26, 31 August, 8, 9 September. A list of picket lines can be found here.
- BT 30, 31 August. A list of picket lines can be found here.
- Crown Post Office 26, 27 August.
- Crown Post Office admin and supply chain 26, 30 August.
Get down to your nearest picket line and show your support.
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