Royal Mail Strike: Early Preparations.

Royal Mail Strike: Opening preparations.

Royal Mail decided about 3 weeks ago to privatise on 11th October, in order to be a privatised company before the union called a strike for  23rd November. This meant that the union was put in a weak position as it was objecting to a privatisation that had already happened in law. Reversing this change was neigh impossible.

In a way this made the union’s intention to still call a strike redundant. But the fact that the sale by the government was under valued by 48%, and so lost the taxpayer £600 million, may grant some support to the union. Further, the government paid over £20 million to Goldman Sachs and other banks for advice; including advice on the right price at which to sell.

Now the chief executive of Royal Mail has written to all employees offering £300 pounds to anyone who does not go on strike! Her justification for this provocative move is that she has apparently spoken to some of her employees, who are concerned that if they do not cross picket lines to enter the workplace they will lose the £300 pounds they are owed for not going on strike.

This is a new tactic. But are there practical difficulties? How will one worker prove that they did not cross a picket line; especially, if as is possible, some do cross picket lines. What evidence is required? Photos of oneself in scuffles taken at the picket line? Is it allowed to simply remain at home on strike days? This will make interesting court cases, as each side tries to avoid public blame for disrupting deliveries.

The chief executive has asked “what sort of protections do we need as a company from our people?” The answer seems to be, to pay this £300 as a sort of protection against a strike happening. But how successful will this tactic be? If the majority of the union has opposed privatisation by 96% already, how many are likely to accept the £300?

Finally, showing a need to get protection from her own employees almost shows a real desire for industrial conflict.

Rolling strikes to Christmas are promised. The employees seem determined to get something despite their inability to reverse privatisation. Higher wages?

 

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