"Not The Strike Posts": Other aspects of the 1971 postal strike!


´╗┐The first full national strike in the history of the British Post Office took place between Wednesday 20th January 1971 and Monday 8th March 1971.

It took place against a background of increasing inflation and worsening industrial relations over the preceding decade, both in the Post Office and in the country in general. On 15th January a pay offer from the Post Office Board was rejected by the executive of the Union of Post Office Workers. An "all‑out" strike was called to start at midnight on 19th/20th January.

Although local mail deliveries were possible in some areas, either where the postmen did not go on strike or as some gradually returned to work, the bulk of the country's postal services came to a complete halt. The strike dragged on for seven weeks as the Union and the Post Office were unable to agree. Eventually, faced with rapidly worsening finances, the Union Executive proposed a public enquiry as a peace plan to then Employment Secretary Robert Carr. A ballot resulted in a majority for ending the strike, and postmen were told to return to work at 9am, Monday 8th March.

At the start of the strike, the Government announced that the Post Office's monopoly on carrying letters would be suspended for the duration. Several hundred private posts were set up throughout the country. The stamps and covers of these posts tend to dominate collector attention, but as a counterbalance other aspects of the strike period are treated here, looking at the progress of events and other delivery alternatives.

(equivalent number of single pages)

1. Introduction and Background (2)
2. Progress of the Strike (7)
3. Deliveries by Postal Workers (3)
4. Existing Alternatives (4)


Frame 1

Introduction and Background
  1. Introduction
  2. All‑Out Strike Called For 20th January 1971
Progress of the Strike
  1. The Strike Begins – Mail Becomes Undeliverable
  2. Commencement of the Strike
  3. Closure of Posting Boxes
  4. The February Stalemate
  5. The Sub‑Post Office Network
  6. See sheet 7
  7. The Strike Ends
Deliveries by Postal Workers
  1. The UPW Hospital Service
  2. Local Letter Deliveries by Staff Not on Strike
  3. See sheet 11
Existing Alternatives
  1. Use of Existing Alternatives to the Post
  2. See sheet 13
  3. Railway Services for Letters and Parcels
  4. See sheet 15