Royal Mail workers shutting down nearly the whole of the postal service on Friday delivered a resounding message to their bosses: we’re not going to take your meagre pay increase lying down.
The strike, the first national one in 12 years, comes after postal workers were offered a below-inflation pay rise of just 2 percent. In other words, their real-term pay would be cut if they accepted the offer. Meanwhile, top executives have been raking in profits and awarding themselves big bonuses.
Clearly, the workers have had enough and are determined to get a fairer share of the company’s success.
The strike sends a clear message from postal workers: we’re not going to be taken for granted any longer. We deserve a fair share of the company’s profits.
Addressing a large crowd of striking workers and campaigners outside Royal Mail offices in Farringdon, central London, CWU general secretary Dave Ward warned greedy bosses at the privatised company that workers would not give in easily.
To loud cheers and the tooting horns of passing buses, he said: “When we say we’re in this for the long haul, you better believe we bloody well mean it.”
Around 115,000 workers at the firm are also set to walk out on Wednesday and on September 8-9, after the union said management imposed a 2 percent pay rise without consultation.
Royal Mail insisted the offer actually amounts to 5.5 percent, about half the lowest rate of inflation in July, but CWU categorically rejected this claim as a lie.
The union’s members at the Post Office, who first walked out in May, are also striking after the state-run company imposed a pay freeze in 2021-22 and offered 5 percent plus a £500 lump-sum for this financial year.
About 3,500 workers are involved in that dispute.
Mr. Ward called for solidarity with workers nationwide, as rail staff, dockers, criminal barristers, and exam board employees also take industrial action.
He said: “Solidarity has never been more important, solidarity with your colleagues and other unions is the way we’re going to win.
“Solidarity with workers who are not in unions, who are getting shafted up and down the UK. At CWU, we say every worker counts.
“We’ll win our disputes, but we’ve got to do more. I think it’s time that we push the boundaries further than they’ve ever been pushed.
“I think it’s time we saw collective action led by trade unions, led by community organisations and we get the whole of the working class in the UK together to fight back.”
Rail union RMT’s head Mick Lynch also addressed the lively demo, which included campaigners from the National Education Union, the University and College Union, Unison, and Equity.
Mr. Lynch, whose union has held six national strike days this summer, said: “The billionaires and the big corporations are telling working people to cough up for the problems in this society and become poorer.
“Our message to them is simple, enough is enough.”
Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity union said:
“This is an inspiring show of strength by postal workers. They are up against one of the most powerful companies in the country. Postal workers have been humiliated and treated with contempt by their bosses. But they are now fighting back. Their action has caused massive disruption to postal services across Britain. It has also sent a message of hope to low-paid workers who are facing similar attacks on their pay. The postal workers’ strike is an important battle in the wider war against austerity and for decent pay for all.“