by leading trade unionist Chris Webb from Socialist Worker:
1.) Defending public services
Royal Mail bosses are determined to run down the postal service, making it slower, more expensive and less reliable.
They hope that if it gets bad enough the public will support another effort to privatise the company.
Many post workers have been in the job all their adult lives. We are committed to delivering a service based on need. The bosses and the government are in this for the short-term, and are only interested in profits.
2.) Fighting to keep full time jobs
Royal Mail is slashing thousands of full-time jobs. More than 50,000 posts have been cut since 2002 and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ultimately, they want to replace almost all full-time jobs with workers on part-time or temporary contracts.
But part-time work means part-time pay, part-time pensions, part-time sick pay – and part-time rights.
3.) A battle for decent pay
Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier is Britain’s highest paid public servant. Since arriving at the company in 2003 he’s pocketed £6 million in pay and bonuses.
Post workers, on the other hand, are among the poorest in Britain. We earn around £100 less a week than the average skilled worker and many of us can only survive on overtime.
Now Royal Mail is telling us we have to accept a pay freeze – and that at least part of our overtime should be compulsory and free.
4.) Stopping the union-busters
Our CWU union is the biggest barrier to those who want to cut jobs, services and pay in the post – and that’s why the company and the government are trying to drive us out of the industry.
To get their way they are bullying and intimidating our members, and using managers and non-unionised casual staff in an effort to break our regional strikes.
Bosses everywhere are watching what happens in this dispute. If Royal Mail can drive the union out of the postal service, others will try to do the same.
5.) If the postal workers win, every worker wins
Our battle is one of the first in what will be a wider war. All political parties are preparing massive cuts in public spending and if the Tories win the next election, they will be absolutely ruthless.
The post workers’ strike is about drawing a line in the sand and telling any future government that we will not accept the smashing of our services.
If we are beaten, bosses everywhere will say: if we can take on the CWU and win, we can break you too. We must not allow them to do that.