Postal workers speak against CWU leaders’ line-up with Royal Mail

“We are disgusted that we have been betrayed by Ward and Furey”

Reports from postal workers across the UK show the real face of what is happening at Royal Mail regarding cost-cutting revisions, with mail deliveries failing daily by up to 50-80 percent and increased workloads described as “crippling”.

Workers are demanding action against Communication Workers Union (CWU) leaders Dave Ward and Andy Furey for overruling the renewed strike mandate delivered in mid-February. They are determined to throw out the CWU’s rotten deal to end the national dispute after the union postal executive postponed the vote twice in May, attempting to undemocratically prevent a rejection.

A Royal Mail Post Office sign, London, October 10, 2013 [AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis]

The ballot has now been rescheduled to start from Thursday this week until July 11. This is based on another joint statement between Royal Mail and the CWU, falsely promising to review revisions and offering an insulting additional £900 to the original lump sum payment of £500 tied to a massively below inflation pay deal of 10 percent for three years. Postal workers are also being kept in the dark about the later start and finish times agreed by the CWU. The union bureaucrats are working together with the company to ram through the restructuring agreement for a scorched-earth policy against jobs, terms and conditions.

Several comments been sent from Northern Ireland in response to a recent statement of the Postal Workers Rank-and-File Committee published on the World Socialist Web Site. This opposed the CWU headquarters’ blocking of local strike action at Craigavon delivery office in defence of suspended reps and in opposition to unagreed revisions.

BT workers on the picket line in Wrexham, North Wales, October 6, 2022

A telecoms worker and CWU member at BT Group has also written in solidarity with the fight at Royal Mail, raising that they also face brutal restructuring including a reduction of the workforce by 40 percent by 2030. They call out the betrayal by the same CWU leaders of eight days of national strikes by 40,000 telecom workers last year based on a substandard pay deal.

We encourage postal workers to keep sending their reports and to attend the next Zoom meeting of the Postal Workers Rank-and-File Committee on Sunday, June 25 at 7 pm. The meeting will rally opposition to the attempts by CWU officials to bulldoze through the pro-company deal sacrificing everything workers have fought to defend in the bitter year-long dispute. Register here to attend.


Craigavon, Northern Ireland: Our reps were suspended in February this year and despite the Joint Agreement dated 2nd March urging that revisions are made good and that the duties comply with the USO, nothing changed. Apologies it did: the managers cranked up the revision, completed it and now in June our reps still haven’t returned.

This week and despite this being reported to the CWU leaders the changes continue, the office is unrecognisable led by senior managers they have introduced: mail merging, drop bags, changed to IPS [Internal Primary Sorting], frames moved from isles to a bullring. And meanwhile the office continues to fail the USO.

The members are scundered, stressed out and looking out. Whilst the IR [Industrial Relations] Framework on disagreements is not being recognised, the members find themselves in daily confrontation and micromanaged. IPGs who normally work past their finish time now return mail.

As a CWU member in this we are disgusted that we have been betrayed by Ward and Furey and we feel that we have been put at a disadvantage for five months without CWU representation. It would be a fair assessment that our reps are being kept away until the managers continue with the unagreed changes. What did we strike for? The only hope we are holding on to is a big reject vote in the ballot.

Belfast, Northern Ireland: I was a rep for many years but the pressure we were under for the last two years, plus during and post-Covid keeping the place going was too much. Not many managers helped out, until they got bribed off the sick and by crossing picket lines. Proximity management got introduced with confrontation every day.

My head is wrecked and the disgusting treatment of our reps by the CWU at Divisional and in London should result in pulling out of the CWU and forming workplace committees to get respect back amongst us. All the good reps have either been suspended, sacked, compulsory transferred or have stood down.

Belfast: After 39 years of being a CWU member I’ve had enough, I'm out of that union. Absolutely shambolic.

Preston, Lancashire: I’m in this so-called union but on the telecom part, BT. We also have been stitched up by this useless union .We are worse off and treated worse than those who crossed the picket lines. The union have their noses in the same trough as management. About as much use as French doors on a submarine. We have 55,000 redundancies looming, well done the CWU!

Birmingham, West Midlands: After 39 years paying CWU subs every week I’ve cancelled my subs after appalling CWU actions. They are a complete and utter waste of time. Sold us out, disgrace.

Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire: We are now into June. We had an overwhelming yes vote in February for industrial action so can the CWU please tell its members what the hell is going on! We hear this we hear that, if this goes through, I shall be withdrawing my payment and trust to the CWU.

Suffolk: My day off is a Saturday and 90 percent of the time I come in on Monday to find my delivery hasn’t been covered. This is very common at the delivery office where I work. The tracked parcels and Special delivery items will of course have been delivered despite Royal Mail not prioritising these items over letters!

Gloucestershire: Morale is at rock bottom. For the last six weeks I have been expected to alternate between two jobs (jobs which have increased significantly since the March revision). I have not prepared any door-to-door in in months and few people do—there is simply not the time. Our Depot Manager seems to have completely given up. We receive one Intercom message asking for sorters to begin sorting at 7.15 and reminding us to sign in. Aside from that, nothing.

Customers are fortunate to get their post once a week (one out of six). Every morning I find parcels placed by my frame—this is the parcels from yesterday. I don’t fret about it anymore. I do what I can at a decent pace and make sure I do everything correctly and work my contracted hours. No more working overtime and rota weeks. It’s astonishing really, 12 months ago managers were fretting if one or two jobs failed. Now practically 80 percent of jobs are failed every day.

The job that I am put on most frequently is approximately 75 minutes longer than it was before the revision, which as we know was rushed through with no colleague consultation. I cannot wait to get out of there. The alarm that has been ringing for months now, “You need to get out of this company,” has become too loud and everyday I feel thoroughly miserable at work.

Dawlish, Devon: I have just been terminated as agency cover in Dawlish sorting office. l have seen first-hand all sides of the arguments.

The revisions are totally unachievable and cannot be completed within the timescales given. Plus Tracked parcels are prioritised over normal mail and I would leave loops on the frame for the following day if I thought that I wasn’t going to have time to complete them.

The union needs to get on with this vote so the rank and file can let the hierarchy know that what they’re proposing isn’t going to happen.

Cheshire: Been a postie 20 years. I have a bad hip, knee and Achilles tendon from the ridiculous amount of walking we do daily in all weathers. The revisions worry me; I can’t do more walking a day, it’s crippling me. I’m shattered all the time.

West Yorkshire: What is the point of paying union fees for them to sell us down the river as they have done? Managers do what they want regardless of health and safety. I’m voting No.

Leeds, West Yorkshire: I worked for Royal Mail for 20 years; was forced to take medical retirement 2 years ago. All this started during Covid-19. We were told to concentrate on tracked items and packets, leaving mail undelivered for days. Unfortunately it’s got worse. I get a delivery in my street two days a week! I received a birthday card that took 11 days to reach me! I feel so sorry for Royal Mail staff who try their best every day and the union that has let them down!

London: Been a postman in South London for more than 35 years and job has never been this bad. Regularly bring back at least 50 percent of the letters and of course untracked packets. Can’t remember the last time I delivered all my specials before 1pm, but no one cares. Area union rep came to office but just sat in managers’ office laughing and joking, didn’t say a word to staff. CWU are an utter disgrace.