This time it was because postal workers, in disgust at the way their management and the government has been treating them decided to walk out en masse from the depot on the Clifton Road Industrial Estate for two days.
I never thought I'd be taking pictures like this...
...In Cambridge in October 2009.
The Sound System...
...And it's power source.
Beats with eats!
Strike Breakers #1
Strike Breakers #2
Strike Breakers #3
Strike Breakers #4
A Rocket Stove in use, with griddle salvaged from a nearby skip!
The music attracted the attention of a few passing young clubbers on their way to and from The Junction around the corner, who actually came and joined the picket line and danced to the music (along with a couple of Postmen and union reps).
Initially I did wonder if these youths were taking the mickey, but they hung about and chatted for a long time, so it become clear to me that they were definitely showing some genuine love and solidarity to the Postmen.
We also had a decent selection of food laid out for us by various contributors, so even though it got colder as the night wore on, the spread of food and good company kept our spirits high until the end.
Fuel for the fires (variously a little 'Rocket' Stove, a Barbeque and aformentioned Steel drum) was easily scavenged from nearby skips - this is after all an Industrial Estate.
I accidentally arrived earlier than I should have, but it turned out to be fortuitous, as I got chatting to the Postmen who were on the picket, and they recounted many stories to me about their own and other colleagues' experiences of the UK postal service in the twenty first century. It is clearly a cut throat, target driven one, where even if you are off work with Cancer, you will be penalised by the management for daring to be ill.
One of the workers had estimated that if they were to try and do their deliveries at the pace currently dictated by management, they would have to constantly deliver post to six doors a minute for up to three and a half hours with no breaks. As it is, one worker told me that they have to deliver to a whole estate in this time (three and a half hours, remember...), including some 57 flights of stairs delivering to blocks of flats, leaving them completely exhausted by the end of it.
It was clear to me there should be at least three or four employees covering this size of area, instead of just one. The problem of course is compounded by the volume of useless Junk Mail they have to deliver, seen as highly profitable by some, but highly annoying to the rest of us.
The only major downer on the night's proceedings was witnessing numerous strike breaking trucks going in and out of the depot over the course of the night (at least twenty I'd estimate, although I wasn't counting), many of the drivers in white shirts, possibly management or temps, who should have known better than to take up a 'Scab Job', as they'll be branded with this sin for a very long time to come. A CWU union rep also vigilantly noted who was going in and out of the Postal depot's gates by marking them off on a list, so these strike breakers have quite literally had their cards officially marked.
There are a further three days of Postal strikes proposed for next week unless an agreement is reached in the meantime.
Get ready for another Winter of Discontent following the Summer of strikes and workplace occupations we've just had, as I suspect it won't just be postal workers who will be voting with their feet.
It will be to a pedal-powered soundtrack of The Prodigy, and maybe some Dubstep and Samba drumming later on, as opposed to the Punk and Reggae we had during the last one, which my parents saw and I also experienced, albeit in a more innocent way.
Suddenly New Labour are looking very old and tired.