110 Bridgwater Royal Mail strikers, out on the gate for their eighth day tomorrow, Saturday 17th, are more determined than ever to secure a decent settlement from their employer. They have also welcomed an intervention on their behalf from Len McCluskey of the Unite union.
The Bridgwater postmen and women are in the Bristol Branch of the CWU/Communication Workers Union, which is dealing with scores of local strike ballot requests from all over the country, as the Government prepares for its autumn plan to sell Royal Mail off.
Most of these local issues are the same: excessive workloads; a punitive managerial regime that disciplines staff of up to 45 years service for working too slow; finally, managers breaking local and national agreements with the CWU that protect health and safety, earnings levels, and permanent and full-time job opportunities.
Dave Chapple, Bristol CWU Branch Chair and shop steward at Bridgwater’s Friarn St office, said:
“Bridgwater lads and lasses on strike have reacted with calm and a quiet determination to an extremely aggressive supervisory regime that has been trying to provoke wildcat strikes for a month or more now. Managers have secretly spied on us, peeked under toilet doors, bullied us out of tea and fag breaks, refused legitimate overtime claims, taken us off our own duties, changed duty start and finish times without agreement, chivvied us in public for not walking or cycling fast enough, threatened temporary contract staff with reductions in hours, and banned and threatened CWU Reps with disciplinary action for performing their legitimate union activities. All this because we dared to challenge an imposed and un-agreed summer ‘savings’plan.
Stronger than ever despite your systematic bulling regime, we now have this serious message to send to senior Royal Mail managers at regional and national level:
You have made a serious mistake in trying to beat Bridgwater by starving us back to work. You have seriously underestimated our strength: after 8 days out, we are stronger than ever, thanks to the support we are getting daily from other Royal Mail workplaces, CWU Branches and trades unionists all over the country. Please can you now admit your tactics are misguided: please pension off your hawks, sit down with us and work out a decent future at Friarn St, where there is no place for bullies, a future that can, together, Save our Royal Mail and Keep the Post Office Public! “
Bridgwater postmen and women are also on strike this Monday 19th, and have requested their CWU HQ a whole week commencing 2nd September. Sympathetic members of the public, our friends in the media, and all our brother and sister trade union members are welcome on our picket lines between 5am and 9am. Postcode is TA6 3XX.”
Dave Chapple also said: “We especially welcome members of the Unite union to our picket line. Up to 150 members of Unite-Royal Mail managers-have been crossing our picket lines during our last seven strikes days, and attempting to undertake our delivery work: we now understand that Len McCluskey himself has written to all these managers instructing them not to come to Bridgwater to try and break the strike. That’s great news for us!
For photos, requests to interview, invites to speak, messages of support, further information, and donations to the Bridgwater Royal Mail dispute fund, please contact Dave Chapple on 0777 6304 276, E-mail
Cheques to be sent to Dave Chapple 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU; and made out to “Bridgwater Trades Union Council.”
The attached photo was taken on 29th June and is credited to “Exeter TUC”: It shows the TUC anti-austerity bus blocking the Bridgwater Delivery Office gate with 60 pickets!
On Saturday 26 May, nearly fifty anti-workfare activists met up in Brighton for a national conference entitled ‘How do we break workfare?’; hosted by Brighton benefits campaign
Participants came from Liverpool, Norfolk, Oxford, Dorset, London, Surrey and Sussex as well as Brighton and Hove. They represented welfare and anti-cuts campaigns, claimant organisations, political groups and trade unions, as well as many individuals opposed to workfare.
As part of our rolling campaign against workfare, members of Wessex Solidarity, Bournemouth Uncut and B.P.A.C.C. leafleted members of the Communications Workers’ Union outside their Conference in Bournemouth; both on Sunday and today, ahead of the vote on Bristol branch’s Motion 26 Category A which reads as follows:
This Conference agrees that the Postal Executive will cease all involvement in the Royal Mail Work Experience (as outlined in the letter to branches 012/12) and notify Royal Mail of this immediately after the close of conference.
The Postal Executive is instructed accordingly.
Incredibly the motion was defeated! More detailed report to follow from our journalist comrade on the inside…
The fight goes on.
They’re having their conference in Bournemouth, who’s up for it?
H&B really are taking the piss; having announced that no less than a quarter of their workforce is to be unpaid – and heavily subsidised by the taxpayer through the offices of Chris Grayling’s mendacious cronies.
So it was with some relish that we descended on our local purveyors of quack remedies to neurotic old hippies. Under the banner of Wessex Solidarity, members of IWW, Solent Solfed, Portsmouth Anarchists, Bournemouth Uncut and Surrey/Hants Afed picketed two branches of this bogus medicine show, later we were joined by a couple of SWP. A letter was handed to staff explaining the action along with a copy of Solfed’s Workfare Pamphlet.
Our ginger ninja on the megaphone harangued passers-by with her acidic wit while the punters scurried in in search of cures for their creaky joints, failing eyesight and uncompliant third leg.
The manager showed up: “are you allowed to be here?” What? On a pavement in a shopping precinct on a Saturday! He claimed to be ‘creating jobs’ then bemoaned the fact that we were going to cost him his £59 bonus; we were all set to move on to the next one when we found out he’d called the plod with some spurious allegations so we had to hang around on principle. “Who’s in charge?” – where do they get it from? Our letter now in the hands of babylon we can all expect some traffic on our web sites over the next few days.
As time was cracking on the group then split, a second H&B was picketed while Bournemouth uncut did their thing at vodafone. Having run out of fliers we reunited in top shop on our way to the pub; we brightened up when the guvnor announced security were going to “remove us using force” but they evidently didn’t fancy it and called plod again. I think it was the same copper, they all look the same to me.
One thing that struck us from talking to people was how many posties there are who are pissed off with their jobs and their union. if any CWU members are reading this give us a shout and we’ll put you in touch with others who want to do something – and don’t forget the picket of CWU headquarters on Monday!
A las Barricadas…