Below is a report which will be in this Thursday's Socialist. All readers need to send messages of support as soon as they possibly can. When postal workers turn up at Leek Road, Stoke tomorrow they need the delivery workers to continue supporting the all out strike of the distribution and processing staff. A lot of messages of support today could just make the difference. The same urgency applies to the new rooftop protest at Burslem so make sure you send your message of support there as well. Don't forget to mention you found out about these disputes via Stoke Socialist Party.
Stoke postal workers on all-out strike!
After taking two 24 hour strikes over the last few weeks distribution and processing workers at Stoke-on-Trent’s biggest Royal Mail depot at Leek Road walked out on Tuesday 11 August and are now on indefinite strike. Delivery workers turning up for work voted to stay out in solidarity and hundreds of motorists hooted their support as they passed by.
Workers are angry at Royal Mail plans to ‘modernise’ the industry by closing the sorting office and transferring operations to Wolverhampton . Royal Mail’s ‘modernisation’ would leave only 15 full time workers at the depot with 100 others facing redundancy or a 70 mile daily trek to Wolverhampton and back.
The North Staffs conurbation has a population of almost half a million, yet Royal Mail’s plans would leave it with no main sorting office and mail being collected in Stoke, driven to Wolverhampton for sorting and then driven back up the M6 to Stoke for delivery. Clearly Royal Mail’s modernisation takes no account of the extra pollution created by this daily merry-go-round of workers and mail.
In a separate dispute at Leek Road, half of the 15 drivers who work on cash transit deliveries to post offices etc face the sack with the rest being given a ‘choice’ of a transfer to Chester (return journey of 85 miles), Birmingham (100 miles) or Sheffield (a 126 mile return journey across the Pennines!).
Please send messages of support to branch.secretary at cwumid7.org.uk with copies to andybentley3 at hotmail.com
At Burslem Delivery Office in Stoke-on-Trent , postal workers were on strike last Friday 7 August against plans to take twelve more jobs out of the depot. This action at Burslem was significant because after 2 years of management bullying, intimidation and victimisation the the spirit of resistance is still alive and kicking (in 2007 twelve workers were suspended on trumped up charges which led to a six week all out strike. Seven got their jobs back but five remain sacked and are now *still* going through an ‘appeals’ process).
One of the main aims of the victimisation carried out in 2007 was to remove CWU reps and key activists in one of the most militant depots in the country. This would have allowed bosses to intensify their bullying regime and impose changes. Despite management's tactics the vote for this strike was a massive 80%.
In fact managers who had traveled from all over the country to scab on the strike couldn’t, at first, get into the building because somehow the metal entrance barrier had been padlocked! The strike was solid with a marvellous turn out of more than 50 on the picket line with a lot of support being given by passing motorists.
STOP PRESS: On Tuesday 11 August Burslem postal worker, Paul Dawson (pictured) was sacked by management. Paul was one of the 12 workers who were victimised and suspended by management in 2007 but later reinstated. He was forced to carry out a rooftop protest to get the apology that he was promised from Royal Mail over his suspension.
Now he’s on the roof again in protest at his sacking. When asked why he had been sacked one manager said that he hadn’t shown remorse for his first rooftop protest!
While Paul is on the roof no one can enter the building so all work is stopped but with workers still being paid.
Please send messages of support to dcondliffe at cwu.org with copies to andybentley3 at hotmail.com