Congratulations to the CWU on the Royal Mail strike vote

3 October 2017

The Communication Workers Union has led a brilliant campaign to insure a big ‘Yes’ vote for strikes across it’s 111,000 members in Royal Mail.

Now the result is in. Postal workers have voted for strikes by 89.1 percent on a 73.7 percent turnout.

Building a Yes vote

Building a Yes vote

If Royal Mail management doubted the feeling among postal workers, they can have little doubt now!

Postal workers face attacks on their pensions and allowances. And post-privatisation, Royal Mail bosses want to completely restructure the postal service, meaning big changes to the job itself.

This stunning result is a clear indication of the anger postal workers feel.

It is clear that there are some very important things to learn from the CWU’s national campaign for the wider trade union movement.

The Tories new anti-union legislation, which means that there is a ballot turnout threshold of 50 percent, poses a major hurdle to strike action. The CWU has shown not only that it is possible to clear that hurdle but to completely smash that threshold.

The CWU leadership has pushed a campaign from the top of the union that has systematically built confidence in offices across the country.

There have been something like 1,000 gate meetings in Royal Mail to help build the Yes vote.

CWU members have sent in photos of their gate meetings that have been posted on the @CWUnews twitter feed.

Members organised to collectively post their ballot papers and even filmed themselves going en masse to the post box to post their Yes votes!

The union’s Deputy General Secretary, Terry Pullinger has given regular video updates on where things are up to with negotiations. The union has kept its members well informed – absolutely vital in the face of Royal Mail’s “Vote No” propaganda.

A Facebook live Q&A with Terry Pullinger and union General Secretary Dave Ward attracted tens of thousands of CWU members. The union billed it as “The biggest trade union meeting in history”. It answered many union members important questions about the dispute.

So, this ballot campaign has been led with a bit of verve and imagination. But most importantly it has inspired the union’s rank and file to take a lead in organising a big turnout and Yes vote.

This campaign, combined with a series of local unofficial walkouts around the country has really unleashed the unions potential to fight in Royal Mail.

It really shows what can be done. That’s not to say that everything about the CWU experience is directly transferable to every other national union. Other national unions need to work out how some of the elements of the CWU ballot campaign apply to their membership in different industrial situations.

Already the PCS union is trying to use elements of the CWU’s campaign, in it’s consultative ballot over pay – its exactly the right thing to do.

Unite the Resistance would like to offer the CWU its full solidarity in this dispute.

Put a poster in your window!

Put a poster in your window!

Let’s hope that this stunning result is enough to make Royal Mail back off from its attacks.

But if not, trade unionists across the country need to build urgent solidarity, so that every picket line in the country feels the support of the wider trade union movement.

Strikes in Royal Mail can not only win this dispute but can help push for renationalisation and can help build a wider fight back over the Tories’ pay cap.

Victory to the CWU!

Download a poster for your window here


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