Approximately 1,000 Royal Mail workers at the Bristol mail centre are set to vote on strike action over the introduction of a new packet sorting machine at this centre.
Despite originally stating that the CWU union would be fully involved in shaping the future of the business, Royal Mail is now refusing to reach an agreement for the new machinery to cover staffing levels and safe systems of work.
This has serious implications for the future, given that Royal Mail intends to introduce more advanced automation.
Gate meetings for members have been held outside the mail centre for all shifts and have been well attended. Leaflets have been circulated to those involved.
Bristol CWU branch secretary David Wiltshire said, “Royal Mail couldn’t care less about how its plans affect those working in the business.
“The fact that they won’t reach an agreement on something simple like this shows their contempt for the union. We cannot allow this to go unchallenged.”
A similar dispute is running concurrently at the Birmingham mail centre.
The result of both ballots will be known on 13 December.
UPDATE THURSDAY 7 DECEMBER: BRISTOL CWU LETTER TO MEMBERS
Newsletter of the Bristol & District Branch of the CWU
Packet sorting machine – industrial action ballot cancelled as agreement is reached
Thank you for taking the time to attend the gate meetings yesterday.
We are pleased to report that an agreement has now been reached for the machine at Bristol and Birmingham Mail Centres. This addresses the same issues as the agreement at Gatwick. As a result the ballots at Bristol at Birmingham have now been cancelled.
The main points of the agreement are:
- There will be full Union involvement in all aspects of the trial.
- Where duty content and changes are required these will be subject to negotiation
- Your views will be sought during the trial
- The kit must conform to the current Royal Mail ergonomic / Health and Safety requirements
- One of the aims is to establish the level of financial savings to the business and employees
- A 4-hour training package for those operating the machine
- A formal joint review at a national level will occur at the end of March 2007 to fully evaluate whether the trial has met its aims and objectives prior to deployment in other Mail Centres.
We always said that the CWU was not against the introduction of new technology but had to be sure that all eventualities were covered in an agreement. This has been achieved
The Union locally will now be fully involved in discussions relating to duty content
And hope that the machine will be a success. For those wishing to see the full text of the agreement this can be obtained from David Wilshire in the branch office.
Finally we would like to thank you for your support on this issue which has undoubtedly helped to resolve the matter.
Produced and published by the Central Committee of the Bristol and District Amalgamated Branch
Exeter action postponed
Exeter postal workers postponed their strike planned for this Monday after talks with management offered some positive steps.
However, not all issues are yet resolved and the CWU union has announced a strike for next Monday, 11 December, unless there is an acceptable agreement.
Meanwhile drivers at Plymouth mail centre have voted overwhelmingly for a strike, raising the possibility of a regional strike day involving Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol — unless bosses back off.