Socialist Worker

Battle lines being drawn in Royal Mail

Issue No. 2032

Postal workers’ reps in the CWU union will gather for a national briefing next Wednesday. They are facing major challenges.

The union’s deputy general secretary Dave Ward says, “The postal executive have agreed that we must up the ante and once and for all flush out Royal Mail’s overall plans for the company.

“We strongly hold the view that it is in our members’ interests to confront the big picture rather than allow Royal Mail to introduce change on a piecemeal basis.”

That’s right, and it means if necessary backing national action to confront what is a national strategy by the employers. Two bitter battles give a taste of what is happening.

More than 800 postal workers in the Stoke area have struck on three separate days in December in a battle to stop full time jobs being changed to part time.

There is national procedure that is supposed to stop bosses changing full time vacancies to part time unless there has been agreement, but this is being flouted. The dispute is therefore of national significance.

The offices affected were Biddulph, Burslem, Cheadle, Kidsgrove, Leek, Longton, Stoke, Stafford, Stockton Brook, Uttoxeter and Werrington. Further action is possible in the near future.

And at Burslem unofficial action started last week over the suspension of a worker.

Staff say Royal Mail has deliberately provoked industrial action, by suspending a worker.

Dave Scarratt, the CWU office rep, said, “Royal Mail has provoked an issue and forced this walkout.

“We have a 62-year-old man on his delivery, and two managers have made an allegation that he verbally abused them last week, and they have suspended him after he came back from holiday. How can we work with allegations like that?

“There was no warning he was going to be suspended.”

Some 73 staff at Burslem walked out spontaneously on Friday of last week.

Meanwhile postal workers at Manvers delivery office in South Yorkshire are involved in an increasingly bitter dispute with Royal Mail following the imposition by executive action of cuts to staffing levels within the office.

This involves not only the ending of the night shift but also the lengthening of attendances on some days and reducing others.The official industrial action follows an overwhelming yes vote in a ballot.

The CWU union says, “Despite the efforts of managers who are being bussed in to act as scab labour, the morale of our members remain high.

“We are sure, however, that they would welcome the support of our organisation throughout the country and branches are therefore invited to make collections amongst members to make donations, to assist cases of hardship being experienced amongst our colleagues at Manvers.”

Messages of support

Stoke area dispute: CWU, Midland No 7, Lindsay Street, Hanley, Stoke On Trent, Staffs, ST1 4EP.
Fax 01782 272 978, phone 01782 285 833, e-mail branch.secretary@cwumid7.org.uk

Manvers: Graham Clough, branch secretary,?South Yorkshire & District branch, 52 Bank Street, Sheffield, S1 2DR.
Phone 0114 272 8970, e-mail cwu@southyorks.freeserve.co.uk


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News
Sat 6 Jan 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2032
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