Thursday, 5 November 2009

CWU 'postpones' industrial action

What lies behind the postal workers' union's decision to call off the strikes that were planned for tomorrow and Monday and begin a 'period of calm'? There isn't much information yet but at the moment it seems like another shoddy deal.

What do Royal Mail get out of the deal? A guarantee of no strikes until after Christmas.

What do postal workers get? A promise from Royal Mail to negotiate changes with the union.

If this is all there is to it then this is indeed a terrible deal. Royal Mail always make promises to negotiate with the union, like they did in the shoddy deal they agreed in 2007, and then they ignore them and impose 'executive action'. They lie. By agreeing to postpone industrial action until next year, the union are throwing away all the momentum built up through the sacrifices postal workers have made up to now, especially those involved in local disputes in London and elsewhere, as well as throwing away the best chance of making strike action effective by doing it at the busiest time of the year.

Postponing the strikes without getting most of our demands met would have been bad enough, but with this deal it feels as though the union have thrown away all our efforts for absolutely nothing. If, as seems likely, Royal Mail drag their feet and go back on their demands, it will be much harder, if not impossible, to get postal workers to go out on strike again in January.

This deal, with the limited information available at the moment (and I sincerely hope I am proved wrong), has the stench of betrayal about it.

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