I learnt there is a London-wide postal strike this morning when I found the gates at Brockley delivery office locked and a man handing out leaflets - rather incongruously the post box there had a delicate pink feather boa wrapped around it - but when I went back later to get a picture it had fallen to the floor (for those interested in the feather boa and whether it has any significance it can just be seen at he bottom right of the picture).
What is the strike about? The members of the Communications Workers Union are quite rightly defending their pensions, opposing privitisation of the post office, pay & conditions. Issues (particularly the privitisation of the Post Office) that are well worth defending as they affect us all in the long run. So why did I initally feel angry about this particular strike...of course it's because I've been inconvenienced (but 'Gary' one of the managers at Brockley apologises for that, and customer services at Royal Mail apologise too, so that's OK). What about the others who weren't aware a strike was planned...is that OK too?
However following the trail I try to find out if the action is 'official' as I knew nothing about it whatsoever. If I had known I'd have been down yesterday to pick up my parcel.Yet the only two people who seem to know that this action is 'official' are the CWU representative at Brockley & his manager 'Gary'. Hmmm...a breakdown in communications for the CWU & Royal Mail alike...as I write there's no mention on the websites and more importantly the Royal Mail customer services helpline didn't seem to know about it. The BBC's update on the Royal Mail dispute yesterday makes no mention of this the link is here . I put the complete lack of communication to the CWU Rep at Brockley this morning and he described it as all being 'political'...well he would...but perhaps he has a point.
Gordon Brown is expected to make a decision this week about a General Election. The generally accepted theory goes "Brown's got a good poll rating, and the Tories have made no progress whatsoever. Delaying an election could help the Tories get their act together. Brown needs his own mandate. By calling for an election now he can include the European Treaty and avoid the need for a referendum. The Party is ready for an election. He must go now" or variations on those themes. However I've not really seen any analysis of how the major postal strikes planned for October will play in any General Election campaign...have Labour distanced themselves sufficiently from the unions to ensure that the pesonal annoyance I have experienced and the accompanying media coverage of the strike itself doesn't translate into a loss of votes; what impact could there be on the vote itself with widespread postal voting and the freepost leaflets etc. Conversely the successful resolution of the postal dispute in the next few days could further enhance Brown's personal standing and poll ratings...so perhaps the CWU man at Brockley is right - it is all 'political'.
Of course these problems don't really concern me - I don't need a freepost leaflet or anything else whatsoever to help me in choosing how to vote...I'm voting for Darren Johnson whenever the General Election comes.