Socialist Worker

Exeter postal workers strike, Monday 4 December

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2029

Exeter mail centre workers are to strike for 24 hours from 2pm on Monday over attacks on union rights and the failure to implement the back to work agreement after a recent unofficial strike.

Further action is likely unless the attacks cease. The bitter mood against management in the area is further shown by a request for a strike ballot at Barnstable delivery office.

Here management are attacking full-time jobs and have instituted one-hour contracts. Workers are then called to work more hours than this, but if they are off sick or on holiday they are paid for only the basic one hour a week.

The local Parcelforce depot is also moving towards a strike ballot. Distribution workers at Greenford mail centre in west London will also strike for 24 hours on Monday.

Meanwhile London postal workers are pressing for speedy action over payments for the extra cost of living in the capital.

A consultative ballot saw a massive majority vote against the offer of a £50 rise in the London weighting payment and for action including a strike ballot.

Last week management upped the offer but this was not enough to avert action.

Norman Candy, a CWU union London divisional rep, told Socialist Worker, “Management have improved the offer a bit but not nearly enough for the members involved.

“The London postal workers have requested that the London membership be balloted by the union for industrial action.

“We will be seeking meetings with Royal Mail Group management at the earliest opportunity.

“Our members feel the massive increases in fares, fuel costs, rents and mortgages.”

It remains unclear whether the national union will agree to a strike ballot in time for action this year. It would be a mistake to delay for long.

At present there are dozens of separate disputes in the post as managers fail to implement national agreements or launch new attacks on jobs, contracts and full-time work.

In the background are rumbling confrontations over the attendance procedure, the trialing of new ways of working, teamworking and the implementation of the European working time directive.

This last issue will hit drivers of Royal Mail heavy goods vehicles particularly hard, cutting their earnings.

Quite rightly the union is demanding a big increase in basic pay to make up for the lost money.

If the union were to coordinate a national campaign around all these issues then it could draw on the anger around each. If it does not do that then it must at least sanction strikes around particular disputes.

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Article information

Sat 2 Dec 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2029
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