Postal workers are talking about strikes around the big online shopping days of “Black Friday” (29 November), “Cyber Monday” (2 December), and in the run-up to Christmas.
The aim is to time the action for maximum impact. A strike which included 29 November would also have the boost of coinciding with the next big student climate strike, when a number of workplaces will take action too.
The talk is not of one-day strikes. A Doncaster postal worker told Solidarity: “The general feeling in my office is we can handle a week or so of lost wages. We’ve had ample notice, and I know a few posties who have been putting a little aside each week to create a small strike fund for themselves.
“Lots in the office such as myself have the belief that a one week strike and the loss of pay that goes with it is better than the long term ramifications of not striking or not making an impact”.
In other offices, there has been talk of more complicated options such as rolling action, with one section out one day, another the next, yet another the third, and so on.
In results announced on 15 October, Royal Mail workers voted 97% for industrial action, on a 75.9% turnout. There were also big majorities for industrial action in Parcelforce.
The union is demanding implementation of a deal reached in 2017, for a shorter working week among other things, and resisting a planned restructure of Parcelforce which threatens jobs.
The CWU and Royal Mail have discussed with a mediator since 15 October, and are due to consider the mediator’s report this week. According to the Financial Times, two weeks are then set aside for attempts to restart talks, and action will be set after that.
Under the Trade Union Act 2016, the union has to make its call 14 days before the action, to give the bosses notice.
That takes the start of strikes up to late November, but postal workers report “quite a lot of regular updates regarding the mediation and next steps”, and the late-November schedule is widely accepted.