Breaking the law: victory for Bridgwater wildcats!

Andrew Mootoo, (centre) with pickets

When Bridgwater Royal Mail victimised a disabled worker, his colleagues walked out; no ballots, no bureaucracy, just solidarity. Andrew Mootoo, is deaf and suffers from severe MS, and management have come up with a stream of ridiculous excuses for keeping him off work for 18 months against his will. He might get stuck in the bog, they said, and anyway they’ve commandeered his rest room for disciplinaries. When Andrew passed a fitness for work test, they changed the test, and used a faulty chair.

80 posties went on strike the day after the government’s anti-union bill received its second reading, showing their plans to chain the working class will come to nought so long as we stick together. The management have backed down and assured the workers that they will sit down with Mootoo and reach a resolution. Watch this space to make sure they do!

CWU rep Dave Chapple said it was remarkable that 98% of staff had walked out (without legal protection) in solidarity with someone they haven’t seen for 18 months, and that he has received over 200 emails of support from fellow trade unionists and disabled people. Royal Mail are now threatening to discipline him for breaking their rules – good luck with that.

So if the bosses are taking the piss, just get together and walk the fuck out – you don’t need a vote if you have consensus. Together we win!

Bridgwater Wildcat walkout for postman and MS Sufferer smashes Tory anti-union laws!

Wessex Solidarity wholeheartedly supports Bridgwater Wildcat Postal Strike in aid of worker sacked for his disability. Reinstate Andrew Mootoo immediately!


80 Royal Mail postmen and women at Bridgwater Delivery Office in Somerset defied the Tory anti-union laws today when they walked out without a ballot to protest at Royal Mail’s refusal to reinstate Andrew Mootoo, a postman who suffers from MS/Multiple Sclerosis. Andrew has been waiting so long for Royal Mail to support his return to work that his pay has been stopped and he has to rely on benefits.

Dave Chapple, CWU Rep, said:

“Most decent employers would do their best to try and get a disabled worker like Andrew Mootoo off benefits and back to work on a properly adjusted duty. Instead, for 18 months, since MS was diagnosed, Royal Mail, nationally and locally, have tried every dirty trick in their book to get Andrew the sack and reduce him to a lifetime of benefits dependency. 18 months ago they tried to sack him. We stopped that by proving they would have acted illegally. Then Royal Mail tested Andrew back at work: when he passed this with flying colours, they invented a new test, which they ensured he would fail, for example, by deliberately using a faulty chair! The last straw is Royal Mail saying that Andrew has no rest room for his meal break, because it is in continuous use by managers for disciplinary purposes; and that his MS means he will get stuck in the toilet. What offensive rubbish from the country’s second largest employer! Justice for MS sufferers at work! Justice for Andrew Mootoo!”

Andrew, who is of Indo-Mauritian parents and who is also profoundly deaf, lives a full life: he drives a car, shops, goes to sport matches, goes shopping, walks down busy high streets, goes to the gym once a week, all without falling over, getting stuck in a toilet or endangering anyone else. All Andrew’ s friends at Bridgwater Delivery Office want, is for Royal Mail to sit down and give him a chance to come off the dole and work for his living, as he wants to do. The work is there. The CWU have even accepted that Andrew could return on a monitored trial basis. Every reasonable compromise CWU offer to Royal Mail has been spurned: every patient CWU plea to Royal Mail to give Andrew a chance has been ignored. 80 Bridgwater trades unionists are right now, a day after the Tory Anti-Union Bill passed the House of Commons, breaking these vicious laws to fight for workplace justice for a severely disabled and much respected colleague. They, and Andrew, deserve your support.

Please contact Dave Chapple, CWU Rep, on 077007 869 144, e-mail davechapple@btinternet.com

Radical events this weekend.

Absolutely no excuse for sitting on your arse watching ‘talent’ shows and Yankee pig operas, get out and meet some fellow radicals!

If you’re going to either the AFN or Freedom event, please look in and support the other as well, it’s only a couple of minutes walk each way; it’s all the same firm innit!

Bridgwater Royal Mail dispute: thank you from 110 strikers for your financial support and picket-line solidarity!

COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION BRISTOL AND DISTRICT BRANCH BRIDGWATER DELIVERY OFFICE

7th August 2013

Our next four days of strike action are this Saturday August 10th, Monday August 12th, Saturday August 17th, Monday August 19th: please continue your support!

110 members at Bridgwater Delivery Office in Somerset, having already taken 5 days of strike action, are now embarking on another four days of strikes with the possibility of a whole week at the beginning of September.

The original issues are still with us and unresolved: un-agreed cuts to full-time jobs and overtime; failure to negotiate with the union; failure to pay money for previous savings; too many and too many bullying managers.

Royal Mail, unlike many previous legal official and unofficial strikes at Bridgwater, are digging in and refusing to consider reasonable compromises.

In the last few weeks, in between strikes, many local agreements have been ripped up and CWU members increasingly harassed. CWU Reps have been moved from work areas, isolated, and banned from the office on their days off. Postmen and women have been spied on, followed, harangued by three managers at a time for ‘breaking off’ or being too slow, until they break down or go sick.

To complete the hypocrisy, the senior manager remains in charge and un-suspended despite allegations of signing for and opening a Special Delivery letter addressed to a postman who is taking out a bullying and harassment charge against him!

There is a strong feeling in the Delivery Office that the employer is trying to provoke a wildcat walk out on a carefully-chosen issue that might split the office. We ARE trying to keep it legal.

What has restored morale and determination is the magnificent response to the Bridgwater Dispute Fund Appeal, both within the Communication Workers’ Union and the wider trade union movement.

Over twenty trades unionists from a dozen unions have addressed our Friarn St picket lines which run from 5am to 9am: ‘solidarity hour’ is between 8am and 9am. Our next four strikes are Saturday 10th August, Monday 12th August, Saturday 17th August, and Monday 19th August. See you there! Royal Mail, 25 Friarn St, TA6 3XX

A CWU Rep from the dispute or our Bristol Branch is always available to speak at trade union branch meetings, while financial solidarity-as well as picket-line speakers-is as vital as ever.

Please make any cheques payable to: ‘Bridgwater Trades Union Council’ and send to Dave Chapple, CWU, 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU tel. 0777 6304 276 e-mail

URGENT APPEAL: Bridgwater Delivery Office Official Dispute – Financial Support Needed

Dear Colleagues,

110 CWU Members out of 120 Postal Workers at Bridgwater Delivery Office are currently under severe attack from Royal Mail. They have taken five days strike action so far, following a 79.3% “Yes” vote.

The main issues are Royal Mail’s un-agreed implementation of a drastic summer savings plan, also allegations about bullying and a “Performance Management” regime and refusal to pay monies owed for mail sequencing savings. These issues have involved Royal Mail selectively breaking both local and national Agreements with the CWU.

Local representatives, officials from the Bristol & District Amalgamated Branch, CWU Divisional Representatives and Bob Gibson National CWU Officer have attempted to come to an acceptable compromise agreement, including substantial summer only savings, only to be rebuffed by the employer.

Meanwhile Bridgwater CWU Reps Darren Granter, Dave Chapple, CWU Committee Members and striking postal workers are allegedly being harassed on a daily basis. There is a feeling that this is to try and provoke wildcat walkouts in order to weaken the official balloted action. Furthermore, CWU members have complained of being watched during their deliveries, during grace breaks, and at gate meetings with officials, and even at a toilet cubicle. They have had overtime denied for spurious reasons and been summarily taken off their delivery. Some new temporary contracts staff feel they are being placed under severe pressure to attend work on strike days.

Attendances on the Bridgwater picket lines have been excellent and have ranged from 35 up to 70 people; the membership’s continued solidarity has shocked Royal Mail. Consequently, the CWU and wider trade union movement cannot afford to stand by in the light of the Con-Dem Government’s privatisation attempts and let the strong CWU membership at Bridgwater Delivery Office be starved back to work.

Further strikes are planned to continue the pressure on Royal Mail to negotiate a fair settlement.

Therefore to assist workers who are involved in this protracted dispute please can you help and ensure that you give all you can to the official “Bridgwater Delivery Office Dispute Fund” this will keep morale to a maximum during the next crucial few weeks.

Please can you make out cheques to “Bridgwater Trades Union Council” and send to:
Dave Chapple CWU
1 Blake Place
Bridgwater
Somerset
TA6 5AU

You can also send messages of support to Dave Chapple at davechapple@btinternet.com   or telephone 0777 6304 276 or to

Dave Wilshire Branch Secretary, CWU Bristol & District Amalgamated Branch at davewilshirecwu@btconnect.com or telephone 07909525740

Finally, we are requesting speakers from the Trade Union movement and supporters of the Postal Workers to contact Dave Chapple to make arrangements to attend picket lines and also for CWU Reps to speak at your meetings. 

KEVIN BEAZER: SOUTH WEST REGIONAL SECRETARY, DAVE WILSHIRE BRISTOL & DISTRICT BRANCH SECRETARY, CHRIS WEBB: DIVISIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Save itClosing the loopholes

Bridgwater Royal Mail strike still on: solidarity needed!

Friends,

Hours of talks on the Bridgwater Delivery Office Royal Mail dispute, that took place in London on Monday and Plymouth today, have broken down without agreement.

This means that the three day strike starting at one minute past midnight tonight, Wednesday, is on, to continue for this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We are still holding a solidarity hour between 8am and 9am every morning to which we would be delighted to welcome visitors and especially other trades unionists. The picket line gets going around 5am.
Messages of support can be sent by e-mail direct to me: any donations to the Bridgwater strike fund, which is now open, can be sent to Dave Wilshire at CWU, 20 Church Rd, Lawrence Hill, Bristol, BS5 9JA.

Financial support is now becoming important to maintaining the excellent morale of the 110 Bridgwater strikers.
Please make any cheques out to “CWU Bristol and District Amal” and send to the above address.

See you on the picket line!
The next national talks on the Bridgwater dispute between the CWU and Royal Mail are set for London on Monday.

Dave Chapple,Shop steward/branch chair

Roundup from 20th Oct TUC march.

Ed Miliband booed for promising cuts to TUC anti-cuts march – 20th October 2012

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPORv29TqKY?rel=0]

Solidarity Federation – October 20: The view from Oxford Circus

Radical workers’ bloc on the march.

IWW on the march

Johnny Void: Marching Is Not Enough – Boycott Workfare and DPAC Show the Way

How Do We Break Workfare? – Report from National Conference.

On Saturday 26 May, nearly fifty anti-workfare activists met up in Brighton for a national conference entitled ‘How do we break workfare?’; hosted by Brighton benefits campaign

Participants came from Liverpool, Norfolk, Oxford, Dorset, London, Surrey and Sussex as well as Brighton and Hove.  They represented welfare and anti-cuts campaigns, claimant organisations, political groups and trade unions, as well as many individuals opposed to workfare.

Here’s the full report from the B.B.C. website:

CWU Conference News: Union still doesn’t get the message on workfare at Royal Mail!

As part of our rolling campaign against workfare, members of Wessex Solidarity, Bournemouth Uncut and B.P.A.C.C. leafleted members of the Communications Workers’ Union outside their Conference in Bournemouth; both on Sunday and today, ahead of the vote on Bristol branch’s Motion 26 Category A which reads as follows:

This Conference agrees that the Postal Executive will cease all involvement in the Royal Mail Work Experience (as outlined in the letter to branches 012/12) and notify Royal Mail of this immediately after the close of conference.

The Postal Executive is instructed accordingly.

Incredibly the motion was defeated! More detailed report to follow from our journalist comrade on the inside…

The fight goes on.

Communication workers union favour controversial workers program – Graham Horne on Demotix

Solent Solfed – Fighting Workfare At Royal Mail!

Most people will have heard about the CWU leadership endorsing the Royal Mail’s participation in the workfare scheme, whilst at the same time ignoring rank and file members views on forced labour and attacks on workers rights.
Concerned posties from SOLFED, IWW, Boycott Workfare, and CWU send you the following call out, and request for solidarity.

See you on the picket!

Solent Solfed: NO TO WORKFARE AT ROYAL MAIL – APRIL 2ND 11am
Open Letter to all members of the Communication Workers Union, (CWU)