On the Picket Line
I’ve just got back from the picket line. There were ten of us at the gate while about the same number had crossed the picket line and gone into work.
That was a bit sad. Some of them weren’t members of the union, so had no choice. Mind you, they had the choice whether to join the union or not, and would take the benefits if we won the dispute. One or two of the younger members were still on their trial contract, so were worried in case it wasn’t renewed. I have a lot of sympathy for them. But the sad thing was seeing union members go in. One of them was overheard to say that he used the union when he needed it, but otherwise he wasn’t interested. I don’t think I can ever respect the man again.
On the other hand, we had a spy on the inside who was popping out every so often bringing us regular updates about what was going on. Apparently they’d opened up the vending machine and were getting free teas and coffees.
At a certain point one of the vans went screeching out. And then, about ten minutes later, it came speeding back in again. It was driven by one of the managers who used to be a postie. You could see from the look on her face that she’d rather be outside with us.
Word came out that the van wasn’t on Royal Mail business at all. It had gone to fetch bacon and sausage baguettes. They were getting bacon and sausage baguettes in there! That made me laugh. I’ve heard of selling your birthright for a mess of pottage, but for a bacon baguette and a lousy cup of coffee?
We had to make do with some home-made cake brought to us by the local branch of the SWP.
Later the press turned up and took photos of us lined up in front of the Royal Mail logo.
The manager came out. ‘Do you have permission to take pictures of Royal Mail property?’ he asked.
The photographer gave him the once over. ‘I don’t need permission,’ she said, and walked off.
I’m looking forward to seeing myself in the paper next week.