Coventry postal worker responds to closure of Royal Mail pension scheme

Coventry postal worker responds to closure of Royal Mail pension scheme

Striking postal workers in Coventry

Royal Mail have announced plans to close the current Defined Benefit pension scheme in March 2018. The following response was written by a postal worker and Communication Workers Union (CWU) member in Coventry.

Their plan is to put members into an inferior alternative, with no certainty of what members would earn – workers could lose up to a third of their future pensions.
The consultation with the CWU and postal workers have been swept aside as Royal Mail seems determined to undermine terms and conditions, pay and pensions since privatisation in October 2013.

The CWU have rightly spoken out condemning the possible imposition of these pension changes without agreement, but words need to be turned into action very quickly or postal workers like me will stand to face a future of poverty in retirement.

Royal Mail claim they cannot afford to keep paying the current pension, even though it has found £650m to pay shareholders dividends over the last three years.

For workers like me, retirement is fast becoming an elusive dream as the Tory government move the retirement age higher and higher. What chance have I got to live out the rest of my years with some kind of comfort if the government and my employer ‘robs’ the very pension I have worked for?

Royal Mail have not listened to the thousands who voiced their concerns during the consultation and so the CWU need to gather the workforce behind an all-out battle to defend our rights for a decent pension.

It is pretty clear that Royal Mail have no intention of changing their objective of rewarding shareholders while punishing the workforce, so only a clear call to strike action is the only course of action that will get Royal Mail to change course.

Working class families have been paying the price since the banking crisis of 2007/08 and we are all living with the effects of cuts to services every day.

The need for co-ordinated action across all unions against the attack on our pensions and pay is stronger than ever – we have had enough of seeing the top 1% getting richer from hammering us into the ground.

Advertisements

J10 in Coventry – report and pictures

J1o in Coventry – report and pictures

Picket at Central Library

Picket at Central Library

This is a brief report of the fantastic action against austerity taken by the trade unions today.

Fuller analysis to come.

Across the country over 1.5 million public sector workers took action today against pay cuts, attacks on pensions and in defence of public services.

6 unions took action in the city, Unison, Unite, GMB, FBU, NUT and PCS and the day had more than a passing resemblance to that historic day of strike action on 30th November, 2011 when we took action over our pensions.

Picket at Fullwood Close

Picket at Fullwood Close

Picket lines were mounted at workplaces around the city, coming together with a rally of around 500 people in Broadgate Square and then a loud, vibrant march around the city centre. This was a real show of unity between the unions, and shows the potential for co-ordinated action. Today needs to be the spring board for future action. It would be nothing less than a crime if this opportunity was squandered as was the case in the aftermath of N30, 2011, as leaders of the larger trade unions allowed the unity between our unions to be destroyed.

Picket of Spire House

Picket of Spire House

The rally heard from some excellent speakers from all the unions involved who highlighted the dire situation facing workers and their families.

There was an international dimension to proceedings, which was very important given that workers in all countries face similar problems – of the 1 per cent trying to make the 99 per cent pay for the crisis of capitalism. Therefore it was a massive boost to hear Ginger Jentzen from the $15now campaign and Socialist Alternative in the USA. Ginger explained to loud cheers and applause how the campaign in Seattle had won $15 per hour minimum wage, taking 100,000 workers outs of poverty.

Ginger Jentzen address the rally

Ginger Jentzen addresses the rally

The sun shone brightly on the action today. Many reports from picket lines explained how in a good number of cases the action was supported even more than during the pensions strike, and it re-stated the importance of picketing with some success in persuading fellow workers not to cross the line.

A section of the march

A section of the march

Today could be a start towards further action. It is critical the days in September that have been ‘pencilled in’ for further action are seriously committed to and built for. Socialist Party members in the trade unions will be putting forward the idea of building towards more co-ordinated action, including a 24 hour general strike. We have to build the biggest possible pressure in the trade unions for further action, the unions have the power, time to use it!

Unison members from John Gulson Primary School

Unison members from John Gulson Primary School

 

PCS picket line

PCS picket line

Support our firefighters! Pictures from the picket line

Support our firefighters! Pictures from the picket line

IMG_20140502_120051

Firefighters are currently taking industrial action against robbery of their pensions . Members of the FBU took action yesterday, and there will be further action today and tomorrow. They are under attack from the government and their employers, and need your support. For more information click here to read an article in the latest issue of ‘The Socialist’ newspaper.

Dave Nellist, chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and member of the Socialist Party visited the picket line at Radford to show support and solidarity. Please see below for pictures.

IMG_20140502_120459

IMG_20140502_120321

IMG_20140502_120048

Coventry Firefighters stage strikes over Xmas and New Year

Coventry Firefighters stage strikes over Xmas and New Year

Over the course of the Xmas break, members of the FBU took 3 sets of strike action in the ongoing dispute over pensions, on Xmas eve and New years eve and early in the morning on the 3rd of January. The strikes took place only weeks after it was announced that MP’s would receive a 11 per cent increase in their pay which will also increase their pension entitlement!

Members of the Socialist Party visited the picket line at Radford to show support on each occasion. We urge the maximum support and solidarity for those taking action.

Picket line on Xmas Eve

Picket line on Xmas Eve

fbu 2

Picket line on New Years Eve

fbu 3

Picket line on the early hours of 3rd January

 

Firefighters take strike action – report from Coventry picket line

Firefighters take strike action – report from Coventry picket line

On the picket line at Radford

On the picket line at Radford

FBU members took strike action today against attacks on their pensions. Across the country firefighters walked out between 12-4pm, including here in Coventry.

Dave Nellist of the Socialist Party reported from the picket line

‘There was a very determined mood amongst FBU members today. They’re been told to pay even higher pension contributions and to work longer. The Tories have told younger firefighters I met on the picket line that they have to work 40 years now for a full pension compared to existing staff’s 30 years. Firefighters will now have to work to 60 (would you want a 60 year old having to climb up a burning building to rescue you?).

Oh, and the head of the West Midlands Fire Service retires (from a desk job!) in November. He’s 53 years old!’

FBU.1