The CWU postal workers’ union was holding a national briefing this week to decide a response to serious attacks.
These have led to a series of local disputes (see right), and much wider feeling that there needs to be a fightback.
Royal Mail is pushing through plans to turn full time jobs into part time, introduce new technology on the bosses’ terms and close some mail centres.
And, even worse, it seems the privatising shares scheme so loved by Royal Mail boss Allan Leighton is on the agenda once more – because Labour ministers won’t bury it by telling Leighton to sling his hook!
Bosses have clearly decided they will take on the union, sit out disputes, and punish us even for official action.
We can’t let them get away with it. It’s time for national action.
The battleground in Royal Mail
Around 120 delivery workers at the Leicester North office began an unofficial work to rule on Monday.
The immediate cause is the failure to agree holiday arrangements – which should have been settled in September. But behind this lies anger about job cuts, the handling of new start times and other issues.
On Tuesday workers decided to ballot on the cuts proposals and, if they are rejected, to move to an official strike vote.
More than 800 postal workers in the Stoke area are considering further strikes. They struck on three separate days in December in a battle to stop full time jobs being changed to part time.
The offices affected are Biddulph, Burslem, Cheadle, Kidsgrove, Leek, Longton, Stoke, Stafford, Stockton Brook, Uttoxeter and Werrington.
Messages of support to CWU, Midland No 7, Lindsay Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, ST1 4EP. Fax 01782 272 978, phone 01782 285 833, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
At Burslem, one of the Stoke area offices, three days of unofficial action last week resulted from the suspension of a 62 year old worker.
Royal Mail provoked industrial action and has now imposed punitive sanctions on wider groups of workers in Stoke – leading to further plans for ballots in the Stoke and Stafford region.
Striking post workers in Manvers, South Yorkshire, have stepped up their call for solidarity action in an increasingly bitter dispute over working conditions.
A lively 50-strong picket was mounted outside the office on their seventh 24?hour stoppage shortly before Christmas. Despite managers being bussed in to act as scab labour, morale remains high.
“Everyone feels that the time is now right for action in other areas of the country to support us,” said one striker. The 100 workers – who had their Christmas bonus cut – unanimously rejected a Royal Mail appeal to work normally.
Cuts to staffing levels within the office were imposed by management executive action. Other cutbacks involve ending the night shift and lengthening attendances on some days while reducing others.
The official industrial action was backed by an overwhelming yes vote in a ballot.
Messages of support to Graham Clough, branch secretary, South Yorkshire & District branch, 52 Bank Street, Sheffield, S1 2DR. E-mail email@example.com
Some 200 workers at the Seacroft delivery office in Leeds walked out unofficially last week for a day. There was initially a short stoppage over the late arrival of door to door material (unaddressed mail) and the arrangements for dealing with the late items.
A deal to sort this out was then overruled by the area general manager whose decision meant a worse deal for workers. This led to a total stoppage.
There has been an ongoing dispute over bag weights.
Around 130 CWU members in the TV licensing office in Bristol are voting on whether to strike in response to plans by Capita to move work to India.
Local CWU official David Wilshire said. “We are confident of a massive vote in favour of strike action, and with the ballot closing on Friday this week we will be announcing a series of dates for strike action unless Capita returns to the negotiating table.”