People on the shop floor aren’t happy. Lots of people were looking forward to the strike, it was a chance to really stick it to our incompetent managers, which obviously now won’t happen as soon as we’d hoped.
The conversations I’ve had have ranged from feelings of hopelessness or powerlessness — “what’s the point of balloting if the courts will stop us anyway?” — to anger with Royal Mail for going to court in the first place.
Online, I’ve encountered a very small amount of people blaming the CWU union’s social media campaign (“why did they have to make those videos of offices posting ballots?”) but these responses a very much a minority. The keenness to strike is still there, although not being able to strike over the busy Christmas period means we’ve lost a lot of leverage.
One big worry is that, if the appeal fails, our union will be forced to pay the costs of the court process. This will further discourage our union leadership from pursuing industrial action, and encourage Royal Mail, and other employers, to use the courts.
The judge who made the ruling in the High Court stated it was in the public interest for the strike not to happen during the general election, as it would be too disruptive, which is disgraceful in my view. The whole point of strikes is to cause disruption. If we can’t do that, what’s the point?
The level of rank-and-file organisation varies from workplace to workplace, and seems particularly strong in some offices around Bristol and in the north west. In my office, we only had one gate meeting during the balloting process, which was conducted by senior officials in the union.
One of the biggest worries, is that if the appeal fails as well, our union will be forced to fork the costs of the court process. This will further discourage our union leadership to engage in strike action, and encourage Royal Mail (as well as other big companies) to use the courts (worth noting that the judge who ruled on the decision, stated it was in best interests for strike not to happen during the general election. In my opinion this is a disgraceful thing to say, the whole point of strikes is disruption, if we can’t do that what’s the point?
Once the appeal has concluded, we have to re-ballot. We have no choice, it’s make or break.