Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wild-cat in Edinburgh

While i had been waxing lyrically upon my vacation in Canada trouble had been brewing in t'mill back home .

This morning as i arrived at work at the Mail Centre , i found myself confronted by picket lines . During the night there had been an unofficial walk-out .

Before the times of computers and blogs , in the mid-90s , Edinburgh had been a hotbed of militancy and contributed to much of the opposition to Royal Mail's re-organisations of working procedures , the infamous Way Forward . Since the union compromise , nay , sell-out , over the issue it has been relatively quiet apart from an occasional flare up . Royal Mail tactics have been a matter of picking off individual offices or work areas in a policy of divide and rule to enforce management's labour intensification projects .

On the night shift , 5 postal workers , when there should have been 8 working , were charged with deliberately working slow . The trouble had been building up all week since Tuesday and the matter seemed resolved til last night when the shift manager reneged on previous promises given to union reps and those 5 workers were threatened with being taken down the disciplinary code for following health and safety rules . Bullied and harrassed , more like , by a management who believed that those 5 postmen would not receive the support and sympathy of the rest of the office and would be left out to be hung and dry . A bad miscalculation by management because the Mail Centre walked , and the arriving early and back shifts honoured the picket lines . Yet again , Edinburgh displayed the resolve it was once famed for . One out - All out .

That this was an engineered provocation by post office management can be shown by the fact that duty rosters for the following week were changed on Friday evening before the walk-out took place re-deployed all the spare staff from the back-shift on to the night-shift into the effected work area and that outside agency staff had also been hired early Friday evening . Certainly seems like they were preparing for some sort of trouble for that night .

John Milne , the Mail Centre manager , well known for his deviousness and insincerity , addressed the crowds of postal workers outside the office , appealing for them to end the unofficial action but still refusing to agree to the necessary pre-condition that those 5 intimidated warehouse workers would not be subjected to any discipline charges . Without that undertaking , staff remained adamant there would be no return to work . His retort was then to say , "Well , you might be out for two or three weeks then ...Good ! "

Talks are on-going with CWU Divisional and Area union reps to seek a resolution that will guarantee no discipline charges against anyone .

Update tomorrow when management and union resume discussions .

Meantime , as many times before , i'm back to my old habits of being at the front of the picket line , stopping as many vans and trucks as i can and again demonstrating that the only strengths the working class possess is withdrawal of labour and our solidarity .


Alice said...

Solidarity wishes from Glasgow.

Let us know if there's anything we can do to support you all.

We can certainly assist in getting the word around other militant trade unionists and workers. Our members in Edinburgh might be able to offer other support.

Best wishes in your struggle.

Anonymous said...

ian johnston here postie in glasgow mail centre. knew nabout strike but didnt know the cause have been watching out for any edinburgh mail coming here..none so far..managers from gmc went through today to process email address is for any further updates...


ajohnstone said...

The strike was resolved sufficently for a return to work .

I will be sure to pass on the IWW's and Ian's offers of support to demonstrate that solidarity is still what makes us strong .