By Stan Crooke
The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) is to ballot CWU members in Cambridge (and members in any other offices who also wish to be balloted) on industrial action if local CWU rep Paul Turnbull is not re-instated. It has agreed to pay Paul the equivalent of his wages while campaigning for his reinstatement, and it is calling on trade unionists to sign a statement in support of reinstatement.
The January meeting of Cambridge Trades Council agreed to make campaigning for Paul's reinstatement a priority.
Paul was sacked at Christmas, on alleged grounds dating back the unofficial strikes last October by CWU members against changes in conditions imposed by management without union agreement. CWU members in the Cambridge sorting office voted on 31 October to strike, after having been asked to sort mail normally sorted at the Oxford office, which was already out on strike. It was the first ever unofficial strike in the Cambridge sorting office.
On the night of 31 October/1 November Paul was on picket duty when an agency driver employed by Royal Mail attempted to cross the picket line. The pickets turned him back and he parked his vehicle a short distance from the sorting office. When Paul sought to find out why the driver had parked there, an alleged incident ensued which is currently a matter for the courts.
Paul was suspended and later sacked for "gross misconduct", though he has worked for Royal Mail for 15 years with a clean disciplinary record. An appeal is pending, but may not be heard for another three months. More: email@example.com or Defend Paul Turnbull Campaign, c/o N. Martin, CWU branch secretary, Union Office, CB LDO, Henley Road, Cambridge CB1 3XX.