Friday, 12 February 2016

“The longer the battle, the sweeter the victory!” Bridgwater Postman Reinstated.

After a two-year “David and Goliath” battle with the country’s second largest employer, culminating with a 24-hour wildcat walkout on November 11th, 113 CWU members at Bridgwater Royal Mail Delivery Office in Somerset have secured the reinstatement of Andrew Mootoo, a profoundly deaf postman stricken with MS.

Andrew starts back to work on a part-time desk-based computer job, scanning in undelivered packets, on Monday February 15th.

On Thursday, the day after his reinstatement was confirmed, a gate meeting was held, with Andrew and his wife present, to celebrate a remarkable victory for the Communication Workers’ Union/CWU.

After the gate meeting, the British Sign Language/BSL interpreter for Andrew, said she had never experienced anything like it, the speeches had given her goose bumps!

Remarkable act of working class solidarity

Dave Chapple, with Darren Granter one of two Bridgwater CWU Reps still under threat of dismissal for their part in the November illegal walkout, said “Monday will finalise a victory that should be celebrated, not just as part of the TUC HeartUnions week, not just as the latest in an amazing series of strike victories at the Bridgwater Delivery Office, not just as a truly-even for Bridgwater-remarkable act of working-class solidarity, but,perhaps most of all, as a victory for disabled workers everywhere. How many other workplaces would have held a near-unanimous walkout to support someone who hadn’t been at work for nearly two years?”
“The unavoidable fact is that Royal Mail’s preferred option was always compulsory transfer out of Bridgwater, or Ill Health Retirement. The most ignorant and prejudiced Royal Mail managers we met, genuinely felt that the dole was the only long-term option. In any other workplace that could or would not risk a lightening strike as a shock tactic, the dole it would have been. “

Proud of militant history

Dave Chapple
Andrew Mootoo said:”After all this time I didn’t expect, suddenly, to find Royal Mail positive about my return to work. I want to say a big thank you to all Bridgwater CWU members who went on strike for me: that was crucial. I cannot believe I have been waiting for 2 years and 1 month to return to work.I call it “The Longest Road to CWU Victory”: I am so proud of our militant history here at Bridgwater!”

“The longer the battle, the sweeter the victory!” (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingstone: The Wailers, 1970)#

Andrew is available for interviews with the media, disabled, black and ethnic organisations, and other trade union branches."

Dave Chapple

07707 869 144

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Not “The Enemy within”, but the “Heart of the People”

TUC Gen Sec Frances O'Grady
TUC/Trades Councils “Heart Unions” week February 8th -14th 2016

Trades Unionists in Bridgwater and other Somerset towns will; be out on the streets in force next week, Thursday 11th February.They will be publicising all the good things that they do in workplaces every day of the week: improving wages, and health and safety, representing workers in difficulty, and where necessary providing support and advice to those being made redundant by George Osborne’s austerity programme.

None of these things are ever publicised or acknowledged by this anti-trade union government, whose Trade Union Act, never in the Conservative Election Maniifesto, seeks to wipe effective trades unionism from our country for ever. Strikes are at an all-time low in this country, and were and still are, always, only a last resort in the face of employers acting like dictators.

So if you are a local Trade Union Rep, have a problem at work, want to join a trade union, or have any other questions or comments, come along to the Bridgwater Trades Union Council stall at the Cornhill in Bridgwater Town Centre between 11am and 12.30pm, Thursday February 11th.

Dave Chapple, Secretary, Bridgwater Trades Union Council

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady also said: 

"This government is determined to shift the balance of power in the workplace in favour of employers, and get the Trade Union Bill through Parliament with as little scrutiny as possible. We must not let them get away with it. 

We need to keep the Bill-or the Act if it is finally passed- at the front of politicians and journalists’ minds and to remind people why unions are so important. Trades Unionists will continue to fight this Act when it does become law. 

From the 8th to 14th of February the TUC will run a special week of activities throughout England and Wales to showcase the amazing work unions do. This will provide a way to increase the involvement of you as union members in the campaign, build awareness of the Trade Union Bill and tell positive union stories to the wider public.

The Trade Union Bill has no place in a modern democracy. Only through coming together and showing our united strength will we be able defend our vital right to strike.

Click here to go to the Heart Unions web site.

Dave Chapple           07707 869 144