Hundreds march to Mount Pleasant to tell Royal Mail bosses the battle is on
HUNDREDS of mail workers marched on Britain’s most iconic sorting office yesterday, vowing to take their defence of pensions, conditions and daily postal deliveries to the next level.
Royal Mail staff have voted overwhelmingly to strike, but a planned walkout was put on hold after bosses secured a High Court injunction.
The dispute remains live, but a judge ruled that the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will have to enter further mediation with the privatised company before union members can down mailbags.
Before the court judgement, workers had been due to walk out at lunchtime yesterday.
Instead, after a national reps’ meeting at Congress House in central London, union activists marched to the Mount Pleasant sorting office in Farringdon.
Delivery and sorting staff at the depot took breaks to join the rally.
CWU president Jane Loftus told the crowd: “This dispute is not going away and Royal Mail know that.”
General secretary Dave Ward acknowledged that the injunction had been a “setback” but said that, as a result, members’ attitudes had “hardened against the employer.”
He announced that the union was “launching a new phase of our campaign” to apply maximum political pressure on Royal Mail and increase public support for postal workers.
“People in this country have got an absolutely unique relationship with their postal workers,” he said.
He blasted the company’s “race to the bottom,” adding: “We ain’t having that with our members and we ain’t having that with the service.”
Royal Mail staff are up in arms at bosses’ proposals to close its defined benefit pension scheme. They are also seeking a 35-hour week and protections for terms and conditions.
Management argued in court that the union had not gone through a binding arbitration process agreed when the service was privatised in 2013. Such negotiations will now resume, but a strike could still take place once they are over.
CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger said that Royal Mail was “one of the great inventions of our social history. What’s been destroying the postal service is privatisation.
“It can be a massively successful business and still be a public service.”
Mr Pullinger said bosses and shareholders had “taken all the hanging fruit” from the company and were now looking to squeeze the pensions of workers and the guarantee of a universal daily postal delivery.
“If we don’t fight now … it will be too late,” he warned.