England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Postal workers ballot for action against paltry pay offer

CWU members in Royal Mail are balloting for industrial action against a derisory pay offer with unacceptable strings attached.

Postal workers have been offered a 2% pay rise with unacceptable changes to terms, conditions and working practices linked to a further 1.5% rise. Even if no strings were attached this potential pay rise would do nothing to address the highest rise in cost of living in 40 years. 

A real cost of living pay rise is needed to address the huge rise in energy, food and transport bills. Royal Mail senior management look like they’re living on a different planet with internal workplace social media and scripted empty messages to their workforce insisting this is a real pay rise with inflation running at nearly 10%. 

An enhanced pay offer is linked to hugely detrimental changes including mandatory Sunday working, cuts to sick pay/shift allowances and changes to shift times as well as the introduction of a two tier workforce. All of which the CWU had thought they had done away with by the exit of the hated CEO Rico Back in 2020. These attacks haven’t gone away and Royal Mail management are hell bent on tearing up the framework agreement they signed up to in 2021. 

This leaves the CWU back where they were in 2019 when the union delivered multiple industrial ballots over and beyond the anti-trade union industrial ballot laws only for them to be ruled illegal for the most spurious of reasons by the High Court. The union bowed to pressure during the pandemic and called off their battle with management but it’s back now with a vengeance. 

115,000+ postal workers across Britain and Northern Ireland will be balloted on this offer and the proposed attacks on terms and conditions. This will be in the context of thousands of workers in both the private and public sector fighting for a real pay rise that can go some way to address the cost of living crisis. 

The CWU has also been balloting workers across the communications sector (Post Office, BT Group) and they could play an important role alongside Unite in leading the fight for the trade union movement to mobilise millions of workers to deal with this crisis.

The TUC has called for a national protest on 18 June. But much more is needed. If the trade unions were to co-ordinate and link up action across the many sectors currently on strike, or balloting, this could bring to bear the largest and most varied front of workers willing to strike against the worst poverty creating pay offers we’ve seen in a generation in the midst of a cost of living crisis created by the capitalist class.


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