Open letter to CWU Executive Committee members

A personal statement by two long-serving Activists

Decisions taken at tomorrow’s Postal Executive count among the most important in our union’s whole history. We hope that before the meeting you will consider the points we raise here. There is great a tradition of loyalty among CWU Branches and membership for executive Council recommendations to end national disputes. Therefore if there is to be a “deal” that falls far short of what CWU members believe they have been striking for, the responsibility tomorrow will be YOURS. We hope you share our concerns, that talks on this “deal” continued when Royal Mail were in the High Court. We hope you share our anger that this week’s strikes were called off by our negotiators acting not upon an Executive discussion and vote, but a lawyer’s advice. We believe that failure to address ALL of the points listed below should lead to the “deal” being rejected. If you cannot agree that all our points are essential, then we hope you can agree that at least SOME of our issues of principle must not be sacrificed.  

  1. Written guarantee of no sackings of, or disciplinary action against any CWU reps or members.
  2. Removal of any threat to close mail centres.
  3. No agreement to national or local productivity deals that include losses of hours, Scheduled Attendances or duties. No agreement on national targeted savings in hours/ duties/jobs.
  4. Current national agreements on duty schedules (the old “318’s) to remain.
  5. No agreement to loss of overtime for taking on extra work over and above duty content.
  6. No agreement to give managers rights to send staff to other offices, or other functions, unless agreed with the CWU locally.
  7. No agreement to increase the ratio of part-time to full-time duties.
  8. No loss of pension rights whatsoever, including those of new entrants.
  9. No agreement to include Door to Door in workload, without the continuation of extra separate payment. No extra items without separate payment for each item as at present.
  10. Continuation of Sunday collections. Joint talks to identify new work and improved services, eg. same day deliveries.
  11. A pay increase which, at least keeps pace with inflation.

If the above points are not achieved, then please do not take upon yourselves the responsibility of selling out our members’ aspirations. You will not be forgiven if you do, by postal workers present, those retired, or those of the future. If this strike is defeated by an Executive Council surrender tomorrow, followed by the usual depressing and intense immoral pressure on Branches and members to accept, then we believe that our union will decline until merged into something else, and our Post Office will be fully privatised within 5 years. As we said, you have a heavy responsibility tomorrow. Don’t bottle it! 

Dave Chapple, Bridgwater/Bristol

Pete Firmin, London


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