chapter  5
18 Pages

The 1988 National Postal Strike

ByGregor Gall

This chapter argues that the Difficult Recruitment Area Supplements (DRAS) strike, in effect a national postal workers' strike, is central to understanding the relative robustness and vibrancy of both postal workers' industrial confidence and trade union organisation in the period from 1988. The postal workers' strike was significant in that it was not perceived to be a defeated strike by the workers concerned and by many commentators. The chapter explains the issue of the DRAS payments and the background to the strike. It recounts the strikes before the outcome and the significance of the dispute is examined in terms of the balance of power between the Union of Communication Workers (UCW) and the Post Office (PO), the balance of power within the union and the implications for union militancy. Some consideration is also given to the wider implications of the strike for the union movement in Britain.