110 Bridgwater Royal Mail strikers, out on the gate for their eighth day tomorrow, Saturday 17th, are more determined than ever to secure a decent settlement from their employer. They have also welcomed an intervention on their behalf from Len McCluskey of the Unite union.
The Bridgwater postmen and women are in the Bristol Branch of the CWU/Communication Workers Union, which is dealing with scores of local strike ballot requests from all over the country, as the Government prepares for its autumn plan to sell Royal Mail off.
Most of these local issues are the same: excessive workloads; a punitive managerial regime that disciplines staff of up to 45 years service for working too slow; finally, managers breaking local and national agreements with the CWU that protect health and safety, earnings levels, and permanent and full-time job opportunities.
Dave Chapple, Bristol CWU Branch Chair and shop steward at Bridgwater’s Friarn St office, said:
“Bridgwater lads and lasses on strike have reacted with calm and a quiet determination to an extremely aggressive supervisory regime that has been trying to provoke wildcat strikes for a month or more now. Managers have secretly spied on us, peeked under toilet doors, bullied us out of tea and fag breaks, refused legitimate overtime claims, taken us off our own duties, changed duty start and finish times without agreement, chivvied us in public for not walking or cycling fast enough, threatened temporary contract staff with reductions in hours, and banned and threatened CWU Reps with disciplinary action for performing their legitimate union activities. All this because we dared to challenge an imposed and un-agreed summer ‘savings’plan.
Stronger than ever despite your systematic bulling regime, we now have this serious message to send to senior Royal Mail managers at regional and national level:
You have made a serious mistake in trying to beat Bridgwater by starving us back to work. You have seriously underestimated our strength: after 8 days out, we are stronger than ever, thanks to the support we are getting daily from other Royal Mail workplaces, CWU Branches and trades unionists all over the country. Please can you now admit your tactics are misguided: please pension off your hawks, sit down with us and work out a decent future at Friarn St, where there is no place for bullies, a future that can, together, Save our Royal Mail and Keep the Post Office Public! “
Bridgwater postmen and women are also on strike this Monday 19th, and have requested their CWU HQ a whole week commencing 2nd September.Sympathetic members of the public, our friends in the media, and all our brother and sister trade union members are welcome on our picket lines between 5am and 9am. Postcode is TA6 3XX.”
Dave Chapple also said: “We especially welcome members of the Unite union to our picket line. Up to 150 members of Unite-Royal Mail managers-have been crossing our picket lines during our last seven strikes days, and attempting to undertake our delivery work: we now understand that Len McCluskey himself has written to all these managers instructing them not to come to Bridgwater to try and break the strike. That’s great news for us!
For photos, requests to interview, invites to speak, messages of support, further information, and donations to the Bridgwater Royal Mail dispute fund, please contact
Dave Chapple on 0777 6304 276,
Cheques to be sent to Dave Chapple 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU;
and made out to “Bridgwater Trades Union Council.”
The attached photo was taken on 29th June and is credited to “Exeter TUC”: It shows the TUC anti-austerity bus blocking the Bridgwater Delivery Office gate with 60 pickets!