Royal Mail Strike Belfast: Picket Interviews Pt. 3

With all the most of the rest in Royal Mail orange or red, or CWU pink, Sammy stands out from the other picketers in his blue jacket and willingness to talk openly about how he feels about the strike and the boss.

Sammy retired recently but worked for years out of the delivery centre off Castlereagh Road in East Belfast. He was proud to be standing with his co-workers again on the CWU Picket Royal Mail.

People Before Profit asked why he was out on the picket if he was now safely retired. 

‘Words can’t describe what I think of (Royal Mail CEO) Simon Thompson,’ Sammy said. ‘“Evil” is just a start…’

Though he’s not following the strike’s dramatic changes blow-by-blow on the sorting floor every morning, he’s active following the story of CWU’s biggest strike on Twitter and catches up when the pickets are on.

He talked us through the work of the job, the rapport he had with the people he served, those he worked with and for. 

‘It’s not easy.’ He said talked about the pressure being put on people now and how he had seen people’s mental health crack with the demands and new micromanagement. ‘I can talk about it now,’ he smiled, ‘I can have an opinion now. They can’t sack me: I’m retired!’

His presence on the picket was obviously welcome and everyone on the picket seemed united and upbeat despite the morning downpour. ‘We’re well used to it’ one of the posties remarked. 

‘As a career it gave you what you needed,’ Sammy said. ‘It was a good job. You don’t realise the relationship we build up with the public.’

He described Royal Mail management’s intended changes to service and the destruction of standard practices the public and the posties rely on to make their days and their lives work.

‘The changes and the attacks on workers he says mean that all those things will be eroded away.’

He is 100% behind the strike.

‘There no way back. We have to win this strike. There’s one way out… If we quit this strike, we’d be surrendering everything.’

The strike was on Thursday and ‘Black Friday’ coinciding with the UCU strikes across the north. Strikes dates will resume on Wednesday 30 November and with a total of seven days of strike action in December.

People Before Profit fully supports the workers as they fight the attack on their jobs.

Some of the CWU members picketing their workplace on 24 November 2022. Sammy (R)