Postal workers' guide to action, now and in future, 2003

Postal workers' guide to action, now and in future, 2003

A leaflet written by an ad-hoc group of angry postal workers during the 2003 wildcat strikes in Royal Mail. While we do not agree with all of it we reproduce it for reference.

We are a small "underground" group of postal workers in the Southeast. We want to make a brief "address" to our fellow workers. We don't represent anyone apart from ourselves. We're not looking for new "members". Any rumours you hear about who (or where) we are, are probably untrue. For reasons that will become clear, we intend to remain anonymous. We encourage others to publish leaflets in the same way we are doing. If you think there's anything worthwhile in what we say, please circulate this message. (If you do so by email, don't use work addresses! If you print it out, please only hand it to people you trust)

If it's called for, we may do further "leaflets" like this.

OUR RESPONSE TO THEIR ATTACKS
First off, let's make no mistake about two things -

ONE - THE WILDCAT WALKOUTS ARE GREAT. Whatever happens next, many of us are putting up a fight for dignity. Many aren't going through any 'official' representative or bureaucratic machinery. This machinery hasn't exactly enabled a wonderful defence of our conditions, has it?

TWO - the managers have been cracking the whip for a few years now, and especially over the past year. And they PLAN TO CONTINUE to trample all over existing practices.

Some of the thugs they employ as local managers were visibly upset that there wasn't a "YES" result in the recent ballot. Weird, huh? But why was it? Answer - it was because they were itching to rub our faces further into the dirt, sack "troublemakers", and force those still with jobs to return with their tails between their legs. To return to conditions in which the bosses' and managers' gloves would really be off. Some of them would be happy in the neo-Nazi BNP if they're not already in it! This is exactly the attitude that senior managers and Postcomm are encouraging.

So - tearing up the industrial framework WASN'T the result of their 'interpretation' or 'misinterpretation' of the ballot. It was what the bastards were PLANNING TO DO ANYWAY, egged on by the government.

Look at the EVIDENCE GATHERING PROCEDURES document. It didn't come out of nowhere. The "industrial relations team" to which the information is being sent, didn't set up its computerised facilities for collecting all of this information on the spur of the moment. We are also talking about cooperation between the Investigation Department, "private" bodies such as CAPRiM (formerly the Economic League) and Experian, and "state" bodies including police and MI5.

Already, as senior CWU officials know full well, little happens in the union environment without bosses being informed or having the capability of finding out when they need to.

REALISTIC STRUGGLE - HOW CAN WE ATTACK?
It may come as a surprise that we talk of realistic struggle. But the last thing we want to do is bang our heads on brick walls or encourage anyone else to.

Realism means knowing we are being watched all over the place. For this reason, MASS MEETINGS ARE NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Realism means spreading the struggle, for sure. And we don't need anyone's permission. Printing off stickers, however mild it may sound, is a good idea. It doesn't take long to print off 100 A4 pages of stickers on a photocopier, e.g. with slogans such as "SUPPORT STRIKING POSTAL WORKERS", and stick them up in shopping centres, on bus shelters, outside other workplaces large and small. Sticking them on postboxes is an excellent idea - and of course, don't get caught!

Go direct to other workplaces. Picket lines can be over-romanticised. Their point is 1) to DETER SCABS and 2) to have a PLACE WHERE OTHER WORKING CLASS PEOPLE CAN COME TO MEET US. When they serve these purposes, fine. When they don't, well why not go and do something else? When was the last time anyone won a strike by attrition?

Nor does horn-tooting (although welcome) amount to a great deal either.

Target workplaces where strikes will cause major disruption, such as tube stations.

BUT - let's not imagine that there's going to be a large all-out strike (or for that matter, a short multi-industry strike), at the end of which the bosses are going to back down, say sorry for the crackdown, and start reversing it. They aren't. It's a MYTH to think otherwise. In present conditions (including with most workers up to their eyeballs in debt), it's a DANGEROUS myth. Because what would really happen is a huge amount of information would be gathered and there would be widespread sackings. The size of the workforce will be reduced anyway. Let's not pretend otherwise. But it's better not to get the sack if you want to get another job or claim benefits.

The answer? DO NOT DO THINGS OPENLY - that's the answer. Become adept at "night and fog operations"!

LOOKING AHEAD
There isn't going to be a victorious strike. Sorry, but there isn't. BUT techniques and types of struggle (and even organisation) used DURING wildcat strikes can be used - adapted if necessary - WHEN WE'RE AT WORK too.

In short, let's STRIKE when it suits us, acting on no-one's say-so but our own, and CONTINUE to fight when we're not striking too.

SUPERGLUE locks, for example. Just don't break the 11th commandment! (If you buy the glue in B&Q, try not to wear your uniform or tell everyone you're a postie - you get the idea). Even just putting a few matchsticks in a keyhole can work wonders.

GET YOUR OWN BACK at managers - RILE the bastards so that they don't know who's doing it. Make their lives a misery.

DON'T ADMIT TO STUFF. Don't shoot your mouth off. If asked, when there's an "investigation", say you DON'T KNOW ANYTHING.

PUT UP STICKERS - especially ones that expose, abuse, or ridicule particularly hated managers.

BE CAREFUL - don't go from a picket line straight to buy some superglue. If you think you're being watched, it's because you ARE being watched!

SOMETIMES ACT COMPLETELY OUT OF THE BLUE. In fact, do this often!

GET READY TO STEP UP ATTACKS IN THE RUN-UP TO CHRISTMAS!

We are advocating the use of RESPONSIBLE "underground" methods. Don't be an idiot and don't get caught. Here's one method we've used with success...

Get a sponge and soak it. Tie it round very tightly with string, to make a very small ball. Leave it to dry. When it's completely dry, take off the string. It won't expand. Flush it down a toilet. It will go several metres down the pipe before it expands. Very soon the toilet will be unusable, and managers will have to call a plumber.

Believe us, this WORKS.

Here's another:

Drag powerful magnets across computer screens.

USE YOUR IMAGINATION.

"Build for the future", don't get unrealistically optimistic, but don't get unrealistically pessimistic either. Conditions are worsening and will continue to worsen, but that doesn't mean we can't struggle. We bloody well can struggle. But we have to adapt our forms of struggle and organisation to the changed conditions.

Above all, the absolute bottom line -

- let's only discuss with people we trust - form our own fucking opinions, rather than let the media, bosses, politicians, union reps, or "professional militants" do it for us. They've all got forked tongues. In particular, the media will always, always, always fuck us over. - you are being watched!

S.U.G.A.P. a Small Underground Group of Angry Posties, 1 NOV 2003