Royal Mail industrial action – report from the picket line

Royal Mail industrial action – report from the picket line


by Socialist Party members

“Workers at Royal Mail’s Coventry North delivery office took strike action on Tuesday 27th August, over the local management team’s treatment of the workforce.

This is just the latest example of postal workers taking action as a result of local managers’ actions.

For several months now, up and down the country, Royal Mail managers have been using intimidation and threats towards workers in a drive to save money.

National agreements have been ignored, mail traffic figures have been ‘massaged’ and a climate of fear instilled, all to ensure that staff ‘absorb’ more and more work.

Such is the scale of the problem of bullying and harassment that the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) has appointed an independent body to go in to workplaces and interview staff about their experiences.

As one worker on the picket line said: “I’m part-time and I’m on a rolling contract. Some of us were taken to one side the other day and told by a manager, ‘If you go on strike, don’t worry, it won’t affect your chances of having your contracts renewed!’ They were nice about it but there was a veiled threat there.”

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Postal workers in Coventry set to strike

The following article is written by a postal worker in Coventry. The Socialist Party calls for full support for this industrial action

Banners from a previous picket line at the old Bishop Street office. From the BBC website

Banners from a previous picket line at the old Bishop Street office. From the BBC website

Postal workers at Royal Mail’s Coventry North Delivery Office will be taking 24 hours of strike action onTuesday 27th August.

by a Coventry postal worker

Over 80% of the 200+ workers (members of the Communication Workers’ Union, CWU), voted in favour of a oneday strike to warn the local management that enough is enough, regarding the way the office is being run and the way workers are being treated.

Over several months now, the local management have refused to follow national agreements; there is       bullying/harassment of certain workers; and they make executive decisions daily to increase our workloads,regardless of the amount of mail coming into the office each day. Usually based on some opaque figures  relating to mail traffic volumes.

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St Michaels Socialist News – August 2013

Below is the the text and pictures from the current News Bulletin being delivered from and by Dave Nellist and the Socialist Party on issues concerning St Michaels Ward and its residents.

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

In this issue – News on the cuts, MP’s pay, campaign against the Bedroom tax in Coventry,

the Charterhouse Fields and Coventry City Fottball Club…

All politicians are the same…

It’s getting harder and harder to tell the big three parties apart.

See an MP on the TV and it’s not until their name tag comes up you can tell whether they’re Tory, Lib Dem or Labour – they all sound the same.

They made the financial mess and are making us pay!  As if it’s our fault that this city, once the richest working class city in the country, is now best known for having the fastest growing food banks!

3 sons

And local politicians are just as bad. In the 5 years since this financial crisis started hundreds of local jobs have been axed, workers across the city have had wages frozen, or cut. Less workers, with less money in their pockets, has led to 1 in 7 city centre shops  standing empty!

Years ago you could at least tell the difference between the 2 big parties; Not any longer. When the Council met to decide how many local services to cut – cuts, for example, that threaten 10 youth centres and services for the elderly, and are threatening families with eviction for being unable to pay the Tories’ bedroom tax – not 1 councillor out of 54 voted against!

For the first time in nearly 40 years the budget vote on the Council that night was unanimous – Labour and Tory councillors united in saying that local people have to suffer more for the bankers’ gambling.  Not one councillor voted against – that has to change!

In Parliaments Budget debate, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls emphasised that a future Labour government would NOT reverse the cuts or the Tories hated bedroom Tax. Instead he pledged Labour would use the Con-Dem cuts as a starting point for more cuts!

But ours are different…

In June – in one of those “you couldn’t make it up” moments – MPs pay body IPSA recommended a £11,000 a year rise!

MPs have presided over a 9% cut in average wages, while food and fuel prices are rocketing. They stand idle while 1 in 5 of Coventry’s young people are unemployed. And they think they’re worth a bigger rise in their wages than a person on the minimum wage gets for a whole year!

Well socialist politicians are different.  The Socialist Party has consistently argued that being an MP or a councillor shouldn’t raise people above the people they represent.  They should only receive the average wage of skilled workers in our city – not 2 or 3 times the salary, and five times the holidays, of the rest of us.

And we have a track record to prove ours isn’t an idle boast. We did it!When the BBC wanted to contrast someone with the MPs pay rise they profiled Coventry Socialist Party member Dave Nellist.  Dave, MP for Coventry South-East in the 1980s, is famous nationally for only taking the same wage as the people he represented, and giving tens of thousands of £s to local and national campaigns.




from a BBC article on the 13 July 2013, titled

 ‘Dave Nellist : The Coventry MP who gave away half his pay’. 

‘Mr Nellist, now 60 and still an active member of the Socialist Party… had worked in a factory for many years. He only accepted the average wage of a skilled Coventry factory worker  -46% of his salary as an MP-..Mr Nellist said he saw his political career as being akin to that of a union rep in a factory.

‘At the time, I saw the job as like a union rep for Coventry people, but not on 3 times the wages or holiday. The engineering union used to work out the average factory wage in Coventry – equivalent to £28,000 nowadays – so that’s what I took home.’ 

“I accepted every penny of the (MP’s) salary, but as the Labour Party we gave away roughly £35,000 of it [per year in today’s money] to help miners families in the 80s, community groups, pensioners. The suggestion by [Ipsa chairman] Sir Ian Kennedy that the pay rise would stop MPs claiming more expenses is frankly amazing – I was lost for words. It’s basically  saying they’ll get a bung on their salary as a way of keeping them in line.”

Dave Nellist (on right) - a true Working Class fighter.
Dave Nellist (on right) – a true Working Class fighter.

Mr Nellist added that as a Coventry City Councillor for 12 years until 2012, he continued to take home the same wage by reducing the hours of his full time job at an advice agency. Mr Nellist believes councillors and MPs should be able to empathise with the people affected by political decisions.

 “With a 9% average fall in wages, MPs shouldn’t get a rise – it insulates them from the day-to-day problems like food & fuel which have rocketed. Millions have to get by on much less [than MPs]. That’s why they should be paid only a workers wage. So, like us, they share the pain and the gain”.



200 people from across Coventry have attended meetings in Hillfields, Tile Hill, Stoke and Henley to organise the fight against the bedroom tax. Dave Nellist opened the meetings and spoke about the death of Stephanie Bottrill from Kingshurst.

Her death was a tragedy and no one else must be left to feel that they are on their own in their struggle against the bedroom tax. To get the tax scrapped we must stand together and fight it as a community.

Dave Nellist leading the lobby of Whitefriars. Demanding they take a no eviction policy.
Dave Nellist leading the lobby of Whitefriars. Demanding they take a no eviction policy.

We are building an anti-eviction network across Coventry. A network of people who are prepared to help resist evictions, protest outside court hearings etc. This is so no one is left isolated and we can call on people at short notice to fight against people losing their homes. We need as many people as possible to be part of this –  if you can help in any way, please contact us.

HOTLINE NUMBER: 07870757585


 Councils must help the fight against this unjust tax

We need councillors who fight to defend their communities by:

1) Demanding that the government scrap the bedroom tax

2) Fighting for all debt to be written off

3) Demanding Housing Associations refuse to evict anyone in rent arrears as a result of this tax

4) Refusing to implement all cuts and build a mass campaign to defeat the ConDem government.

So far Labour Councillors in Coventry, who sit on the board of Whitefriars and other housing associations have refused to demand a no evictions policy! Labour Leader Ann Lucas herself even refused to allow an anti bedroom Tax Stall at the Godiva Festival!

 Just who’s side are Labour Councillors on?…

The People of Coventry or  the ConDem government!


Charterhouse – Exciting possibilities

All the residents hard work may be at last paying off.  For years local people, strongly supported by Socialist Party councillors, have fought to keep public access to one of Coventry’s hidden gems, the Charterhouse Fields off the London Road.

For the last 2 years our former councillor, Dave Nellist, has kept a block on potential development of the area by submitting a Village Green application – supported by evidence of hundreds of local people.  But Dave and the residents haven’t stood still, they’ve been meeting with others who also want to see protection of the Fields, and the restoration of the nationally important historic buildings there – and now there’s movement in the right direction.

We hope there’ll be an announcement fairly soon of national funding to restore the historic Charterhouse & make major improvements to the parkland around it.  Whilst the Council in the past ignored what local people wanted, socialists & residents working together have proved they are the best defence to the threat of the loss of green space we can all enjoy.


They’ve taken our jobs, factories & hospitals…


Now they taking our Football Club!


 Thousands march through city to ‘Keep Cov in Cov’

7,000 people marched on 20th July in protest against the recent decision to move Coventry City home games over 30 miles away to Northampton. Dave Nellist addressed the final rally in Broadgate. Dave pointed out that back in 2003 the 3 Socialist Party Cllrs had the casting vote over whether the new Ricoh Arena would be built. The Socialists wanted to improve the deal for local people. We got amendments passed, guaranteeing  jobs for local people & any profits from sales of land should go back in to services for Coventry people.

Dave Nellist addresses the rally of thousands in Broadgate.
Dave Nellist addresses the rally of thousands in Broadgate.

However, Dave pointed out that looking back we should also have moved an amendment to ensure that the fans had a representative on the Board, as they do in many other countries. Dave pointed out to rapturous applause that whilst in other countries there are clubs owned by the fans, we have here a situation where an offshore hedge fund is only interested in raking as much profit as possible from the people of Coventry.

The tragedy that has hit Coventry City FC is a perfect example of how profit hungry parasites such as SISU directly attack working class communities, traditions & culture. They must be stopped, with discussions needed on how we can get fan and community ownership and control of clubs, football and sport in general.

 Public Meeting – Football and Big Business

 John Reid author of Reclaim the Game

 Monday, 19th August, 7.30pm SQ Club, Whitefriars Lane, Coventry, CV1 2DT



The Socialist Party meets around Coventry every week on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday nights,  7.30.

 Get in touch for info, about meetings or joining the Socialist Party.

 phone/text 07530 429441      

  Dave Nellist

Ring  07870 294 237    Email:

Keep up with Dave on:       Twitter: @DaveNellist

Football and big business: time to reclaim the game

John Reid (From the Socialist Newspaper)

At the start of the new football season, the same old robbers are wrecking the game. Since the outset of the Premier League, over 50 clubs have gone into receivership.The latest club in trouble is Coventry City. Docked ten points, and without a ground due to the antics of the money men in charge, fans have to travel to Northampton to see their team play!

Mismanagement has already ruined Portsmouth, Luton Town and also Glasgow Rangers, which was expelled from the Scottish Premier following off-field dodgy dealing.

Football is a game at the top owned by billionaires and played by multi-millionaires.

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Zero hours contract scandal

We demand real jobs and a living wage

The scandal of Sports Direct employing their entire part-time workforce (90% of employees) on zero hours contracts has been exposed this week.

At the same time they are paying huge bonuses in the forms of shares to 2,000 staff. But the bonus scheme only applies to full-time workers – mostly supervisors or managers.

And managers are apparently allowed to exclude workers from the bonus scheme for ‘under-performing’.

The workers on zero hours don’t know how many hours they will get to work from one week to the next, making it impossible to plan ahead or pay normal household expenses. They are also not entitled to sick pay or holiday pay.

This precarious existence is experienced by hundreds of thousands of workers – even the government statistics office ONS admit that over 200,000 are on such contracts and nearly half of those are 16-24.

These figures are rising as the bosses pass the effects of their crisis onto the workers at the bottom of the employment pile.

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Miliband’s ‘Clause Four moment’

From The Socialist newspaper, 31 July 2013

Editorial of the Socialist

Miliband’s ‘Clause Four moment’

Ed Miliband’s decision to rush through the end of trade union bloc affiliation to the Labour Party at a special conference next spring has all the symbolism of Tony Blair’s ‘Clause Four moment’ in 1995.

That was when Blair organised a special conference to abolish Labour‘s historic commitment, in Clause Four, Part 1V of the party’s rules, to “the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange”.

It is not only symbolism that is involved in Miliband’s move, however, but the content that is also the same; to continue (in fact, to complete) the process of transforming Labour into just another capitalist party.

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Thousands march through City to ‘Keep Cov in Cov’

The crowd leaves Gosford Green

Up to 7,000 people marched through Coventry on Saturday 20th July in protest against the recent decision to move Coventry City F.C’s home games over 30 miles away to Northampton. Though predominantly Coventry fans, there were also supporters from AFC Wimbledon, Middlesbrough, Ipswich Town, Chelsea and Liverpool who attended to show support.

The march nears the University

The march started on Gosford Green, close to the Sky Blue’s former home at Highfield Road and following 2 modern day Lady Godivas on horseback, proceeded to make its way to the City Centre along Sky Blue Way. The size of the protest could be seen by the fact that the front of the march reached the end point whilst the back was still near the beginning!

Anger at the Football League

Fans old and young attended the protest – there was anger and dismay, evidenced in the massive turnout but also in the chants and homemade posters and banners that had been made such as ‘SISU OUT’ (SISU is the hedge fund that many blame for the current situation)  ’49 years a season ticket holder – kicked out of CCFC by SISU’ and ‘Real football for real fans except in Coventry thanks to the weak Judas Football League’.

Another banner from Coventry International / Diverse supporters invited the Football League to grow some (specific body part!) in 9 different languages which summed up the feeling of many.

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Former Labour MP Dave Nellist – a workers’ MP on a worker’s wage

Dave Nellist speaking in support of working class peopple

Dave Nellist speaking in support of working class people

There has been much publicity over the past few days regarding the prospect of MPs taking a massive pay rise at a time of massive cuts and when most workers have seen falling living standards. Council workers were offered just 1 per cent! However this episode underlines again the principled stand taken by Dave Nellist whilst he was an MP – he only took the average wage of a skilled worker, donating the rest to local campaigns, strike funds, charities etc. What a contrast to the MPs of today who have claimed enormous expenses whilst supporting never ending cuts for ordinary people. He was an embarrassment to the Labour Party because he showed  most other MPs up for what they are – career seeking place men and women with barely a principle to share between them

Whilst an MP and then later a Councillor, Dave was a firm supporter of council workers and trade unionists in the city.  As the article below states which is taken from the BBC website, he is still an active member of the Socialist Party and continues to support the trade unions and the fight for socialism. We urge you to consider joining the Socialist Party to help rebuild working class political representation and organisation in Coventry and beyond.

The link to the article is here

Dave Nellist: The Coventry MP who gave away half his pay

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