Thursday, June 07, 2007
Some 77 percent of postal workers who voted backed strike action in their dispute with Royal Mail over the company's 2.5 percent pay offer. The turnout was 67 percent.
The vote was so overwhelming that the majority of workers at every Royal Mail branch in the country voted to strike.
Delegates at the CWU union conference in Bournemouth exploded with cheers and applause when the ballot result was announced to a packed hall.
CWU leaders made clear that they will return to the employers seeking further talks. But they also made clear that unless there is an acceptable settlement, the first national postal strike for over a decade is very much on the cards.
Outgoing chair of the CWU postal executive Pat O'Hara condemned Royal Mail boss Allan Leighton for saying that the envisaged strike would be "bloody" and comparing it to the miners' strike of 1984-5.
O'Hara said that such comments would be unacceptable from any government – but were particularly outrageous from a Labour government.
The potential now exists for combined strikes between postal and other workers against Gordon Brown's imposition of pay limits on public sector workers. His below inflation wage freeze means an effective cut in wages for millions across Britain.
Postal workers are strong on their own – but they will be much more powerful if they strike alongside others.