‘Most solid strike yet’ by Crown Post Office workersPostal, Post Office (PO) July 11 2022
CWU representatives around the UK report strengthening support for the union’s fair pay fight, with Crown Offices shut for the day and ‘good luck’ messages to pickets from the public…
Picket lines appeared at Post Offices across the UK today, as fed-up counter staff took their third day of strike action in their ongoing struggle to ensure they and their families get a fair reward for their hard work and dedication to the public, as well as a financial recognition of the harsh effects of the sharp rise in the cost of living. CWU News spoke with some of our CWU representatives from different parts of the country as they looked back on another day of industrial action.
“Today’s gone even better than I’d expected,” said Neil Barry, North West & North Wales Area rep for Post Office workers, after a morning’s picketing at Prestwich Post Office in Manchester. “Across my patch, although the Post Office have been using more managers to try to keep some offices open, there have actually been more staff on strike this time than the previous strike days.
“But even the offices where managers have been sent to, many of them have only managed to open for a limited time today – so the action is becoming more effective. Here at Prestwich, members of the public came up to the picket and stood chatting with striking staff saying they agreed with the action and that the management’s attitude was ‘just ridiculous’, which is very good for members’ morale.
“Massive appreciation to all our members on strike and for their support – we’re going to keep sticking together and fighting for a fair deal and now is the time for the Post Office to seriously sit down and negotiate properly with the CWU.”
Over in Leeds, North East Area rep Richard Titterington reported that “although we’ve had managers going in and doing our members’ work in some places, support for the strike among CWU grades is holding up very well across the Crowns in this Area and the determination to win a decent pay settlement is stronger now than when we started. So, a big thank you to members who’ve taken action.”
Richard also talked about the support from members of the public, saying that “people we spoke to understood what we are doing and why. There seems to be quite a general feeling that people are having to stand up and fight for a living really. Locally, we’ve had a three-week bus strike and so there is an increase in disputes and people are becoming affected by them and of the reasons for it.
“It’s good that people are coming together and showing solidarity – the cost-of-living crisis affects us all and members of the public have been positive and supportive towards us.”
London CWU Post Office reps Garrie Bond (West & Central) and Clive Tickner (North & East) also reported managers being drafted in to keep something of a skeleton service going at a minority of Crowns, in response to the solid walkouts by our members.
“I’ve been massively impressed by today and we’re keeping up the pressure in our fight for a fair deal,” said Garrie, who spent the morning at central London’s Eccleston Street Crown. The majority of Crowns within his Area closed today, while some were kept open for just a few hours. Clive led the picket at Kingsland High Street over on the other side of town, and his impression of today was that “the strike has held up very well – our members have been fantastic and all credit to them.”
Midlands Region secretary Mark Harper attended this morning’s picket at Matlock in Derbyshire, from where he told CWU News: “It was 100 per cent on strike today and it was great to show our solidarity with the striking staff up here in The Peaks,” while up in Scotland, there were “around 40 people at the Edinburgh City picket,” according to CWU Scotland No2 Branch secretary Gary Clarke.
“We had solidarity from other trade unionists and the office was 100 per cent closed for the day,” Gary added. And from Wales, CWU assistant regional secretary Mark Williams reported that Port Talbot Crown Office was “fully shut” by the action.
“Members’ morale is still high, they’re up for the fight and there’s overwhelming support from the public,” said Mark.
Our union’s national officer for Post Office workers Andy Furey said: “There’s been massive solidarity and unity today right across the country and I want to add my thanks and my admiration for the strength, courage and fortitude of our magnificent members.
“This has been the third strike in the past couple of months and there’s more action on the way this Thursday, when our CViT and Admin members will be walking out.”
Andy continued: “Fundamentally, Post Office needs to respect the needs of its employees who, as key workers, are estranged from the senior management. In essence, Nick Read CEO has lost the dressing room. The way back is to get around the negotiating table and thrash out a deal that our members can get behind.”