Walkout Friday – a ‘monumental’ day for our union’

Postal, Royal Mail Group (EMP)


As over 110,000 CWU members take action for fair pay, national officers heap praise on ‘magnificent, determined and disciplined’ strikers…

What a day for the CWU – our general secretary Dave Ward and deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger leading from the front as always, Dave visiting east London delivery offices and then spearheading a lively rally at Royal Mail’s giant Mount Pleasant site in central London, while our deputy general secretary postal Terry Pullinger began his day at Blackpool, before heading onto Kirkham and Preston.

“It’s been magnificent to see all the photos and video-snaps up on the union’s social platforms today, with people everywhere standing up, standing strong and standing together,” our outdoor secretary Mark Baulch told CWU News this afternoon.

“Personally, I was on the same route as our general secretary Dave Ward and we went to Bethnal Green, Bow and Whitechapel D.O.s this morning and then joined hundreds of others at Mount Pleasant,” he continued, “and from all the reports I’ve received and seen and heard from around the UK it looks like this first strike day has been massively supported everywhere.

“We’ve got 1,285 delivery workplaces in total and well over 80,000 postmen and postwomen and they’ve responded fantastically to the union’s call in every corner of the country. What’s been very apparent has been people’s anger at the way they’ve been treated by the senior management. These people are among the frontline heroes of the pandemic who kept our nation connected during that horrible time, kept on delivering essential items – including those crucial Covid test kits – and proved once again what a vital public service they provide.

“So, it’s no wonder they feel angry, insulted and betrayed by the people at the top of this company who are cynically taking advantage of the cost-of-living crisis to try and launch a vicious attack on posties’ pay, terms and conditions. Make no mistake, our members are up for this like never before – we know it’s a long haul and we’re ready for it.”

Delivery offices were setting up their pickets from 6am and 7am this morning – strikers bringing along ‘On strike for fair pay’ placards and wearing CWU strike T-shirts, while some even brought their pets along with them to show ‘canine solidarity’. To keep up people’s spirits, teas, coffees and at some units burgers and hot dogs were provided, as strikers prepared for a busy day of struggle.

Among CWU national officer Davie Robertson’s members, the widely varying shift patterns in processing, distribution and network logistics meant that picket lines at some mail centres, RDCs and VOCs were deployed as early as 4am – and in spite of the earlier starts, strikers’ morale at these units has been every bit as high as in delivery.

“Some pickets will still be on until the early hours of tomorrow morning as well,” Davie commented, and added: “We’ve got 37 mail centres, 30 to 40 VOCs, five RDCs, and of course in Parcelforce we have three sort centres and 54 depots – altogether around 30,000 members and they’ve been absolutely superb today,” he said, adding: “I was at Hatfield and Hemel Hempstead myself and the support and the morale there was brilliant, just as it seems to have been all over.”

Praising members, he added that the strength of feeling on show during this first strike day had been “entirely provoked by senior management, who’ve been poking them with a stick for far too long now. For our members, today was their first opportunity to give their collective response – and my God, they’ve certainly done that!” But as well as being massively impressed by the unity, the determination and the resolution members have displayed, Davie also made the point that CWU members had shown “remarkable discipline as well – which must not be under-estimated.

“Our members – every man and woman – have deployed well organised and highly disciplined pickets everywhere and they’ve been a credit to this union and to the trade union movement, on what has been our first national strike since 2009 and our first over pay since 1971.”

Tomorrow, our members at Crown Post Offices will strike, on Tuesday our BT/Openreach members walk out as well and next Wednesday they will be joined by our Royal Mail members striking once again.

Mark Baulch said: “This has been a great day for the union, we showed our strength and resolve, and a massive thank you to each and every members on strike today. Huge solidarity to our Post Office and BT/Openreach members  – and we go again next Wednesday. We’re determined to win, and to win together.”

And Davie agreed, adding: “We’re fighting against the current climate of employers using the cost-of-living crisis to try to attack workers, not only in our sector but across the board. This union stands together as one – Royal Mail workers, Post Office workers and BT/Openreach workers.

“We stand together and determined to win.”