Postal workers at the Beeston mail centre in Nottingham walked out spontaneously and unofficially last week.
The action was triggered when a worker, who was off sick, was called in by managers to face questioning. He duly came in – and collapsed on work premises.
Many of his colleagues believe that the stress of being asked to come in had contributed greatly to his collapse.
Word got round the several hundred strong workforce and there was a meeting in the canteen. It decided, with only 20 or 30 against, to walk out of the depot there and then.
Work stopped at 3.15am on Tuesday morning.
Post across the entire greater Nottingham area was disrupted and, when the day shift came in, management had to scurry around to smooth things over.
Simon Edmonds, secretary of Nottingham and district branch of the CWU union, told Socialist Worker, “This absence management policy needs to be withdrawn.
“There should be reasonable levels of contact with people who are off sick – not this draconian and mechanistic approach.”
As is now drearily predicable, Royal Mail managers have imposed punitive sanctions on the union because some of its members had the guts to stand up against management’s actions.
The union branch will now hold an official strike ballot over the sanctions.
Postal workers across the South West No 1 branch are to vote on strikes against a sacking and other disciplinary measures taken after their strike last year.
The man sacked is a CWU rep. Three other workers have been given suspended dismissals and compulsorily transferred from their place of work to other offices.
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A major dispute is brewing in north and east London over proposed trials of teamworking and team leaders.
Royal Mail has targeted these areas for the introduction of team leaders – despite all of the units affected signing mass petitions against the move.
Teamworking means that workers are put in groups and police themselves, with one of their number given the responsibility to drive on the rest.
The “team members” are expected to cover for each other’s sick leave and holidays and to watch over each other’s work rates.
Branch officials from north and east London have produced a leaflet for the Post Worker rank and file paper. It says, “The next move by management could be as soon as a few short weeks’ away – and north and east London will fight their corner.
“The spotlight will then shift to the CWU union’s postal executive and the national leadership, because this is a national issue requiring a national solution.
“If teamworking is introduced into this business, it will be to the detriment of all the members of our union.”
A seven-day strike, backed by a 90 percent vote for action, was scheduled at Burslem delivery office in the Stoke area this week. It concerns the disciplinary case of a worker who has been suspended since 29 December last year.
The suspension, over alleged verbal harassment of a manager, led to an unofficial walkout.
Now an official strike is due to begin at 1am, on Thursday of this week and continue until 5am, on Thursday of next week.
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Coventry postal workers are preparing for a demonstration at the end of the month to protest at the threatened closure of their mail centre.
The CWU union branch says, “Coventry needs to retain a mail centre. It would protect local jobs and the local economy.
“With approximately 600 local jobs in the balance, it is our belief that hot on the heels of closures at Jaguar and Peugeot in Coventry, the closure of Coventry mail centre would be disastrous for the local area.”
Demonstrate on Saturday 31 March, 10.30am at Millennium Place in Coventry. For details go to www.cwucoventry.co.uk/