17 October, 2009 — Red Postie
BBC Newsnight on Thursday revealed a leaked confidential document spilling the beans on a Royal Mail plan to impose cuts, provoke a strike and smash the union. This blows a hole in their spin over the past couple of weeks about an uncooperative union!
The document, marked ‘in strictest confidence’ and dated way back to 24 September, shows there is no deal possible, RM plans to go for nothing less than 100% of its demands, imposing cuts ‘with or without union engagement’ and making a ‘demonstration of resolve through dispute – strikes don’t work.’
Postal bosses shed crocodile tears for the cameras about how the strikes would hurt the public and lose Royal Mail business. The leaked doc showed they’re perfectly happy to let the dispute rip: ‘demonstration of commercial impact of dispute – strikes make things worse – the more we can demonstrate this to our people the better.’
And when it comes to valuing its workers, the doc states that if the CWU doesn’t agree ‘a deal on our terms’ then a ‘programme of reducing relationship with union’ (ie derecognising it) is on the cards. One tactic is to withdraw agreed facility time for union area reps and fulltime officials, to try to cripple the running of the strike.
‘A new relationship with our people is non-negotiable and will happen anyway, with or without union agreement.’
Then the real bombshell: if the CWU refuses to agree ‘we have positioned things in such a way as there is shareholder, customer and internal support for implementation of change without agreement.’ Of course the only shareholder is the Labour government! Predictably Royal Mail bosses and Labour have said they know nothing about it.
A Labour MP on Newsnight tried to distract from this by saying ‘we all, the whole public, are the shareholders’ but that’s just ridiculous. The document said ‘the shareholder’, we all know who that is! Its been clear since 2007 if not before that Labour is in cahoots with the Crozier management – after all they appointed him!
Billy Hayes gave a credible defence of why postal workers were striking, but he also tried to show Royal Mail wasn’t serious about talks because it refused ACAS or government intervention – but that should be the last thing we want, both would tilt 100% towards Royal Mail’s modernisation demands. Anyway it’s now clear they are intervening – by backing Royal Mail’s union-busting to the hilt! But most posties knew that.
The embarrassing bit was when the Newsnight presenter repeatedly asked Billy how he felt about the CWU giving £7 million since 2001 to Labour to have it plotting against it, and did he support the 98% of London postal workers who had voted to break from Labour? Labour-lovin’ Billy ducked it several times before lamely saying the party wasn’t the same as the government.
The offices were buzzing on Friday with news of this treachery from Labour, and concern as it hit home how nasty this management is willing to get. More than ever postal workers realise that our whole union is at stake, and are more determined than ever to see through the strike to defend it.
The message is loud and clear: there is no deal on the cards or help from the government – quite the opposite they are stabbing us in the back! No more delay. Let’s strike, and strike the Labour Party off our books. “