Royal Mail is to embark on a second massive sale of property assets – just months after concluding a first deal in which 300 sites were disposed of, netting £70 million.
High street post offices, sorting offices and other industrial buildings will be sold to property companies. Many will be leased back.
Attempts by managers to use agency workers in an effort to undermine the strikes are causing widespread anger.
Over 1,000 workers at the Bristol mail centre are expected to launch a ballot over the issue this week.
In Tyneside the Reed employment agency has been recruiting casual staff to work at the Gateshead mail centre.
John Woodhouse, branch secretary of the CWU union in Newcastle, told Socialist Worker that the company had provided about 20 agency staff during last week’s strike.
“The law clearly states that you cannot use agency staff to do the jobs of people who are on strike,” said John.
Plans by Royal Mail management to slash the company’s pension scheme were revealed last week.
The Daily Mirror reported that bosses wanted changes to the scheme that would mean an increase in the retirement age to 65, and drastic cuts to benefits.
Bosses suggested that the proposals had been dropped, but that “drastic action” would still have to be taken to “save the scheme”.
They did not remind anyone that the company took a ten year “pensions holiday” and refused to make its share of contributions.
CWU union activists in Exeter are delighted by the collapse of a number of disciplinary cases brought against members following an unofficial dispute last year.
Following appeals, one worker has been reinstated to his job and another two have been completely exonerated.
One worker, who had been moved out of his job at the Exeter mail centre, has been told that he can return.
Other workers, who are still awaiting the result of disciplinary hearings and appeals, are confident that Royal Mail bosses have no evidence against them.
“Managers used disciplinary measures to intimidate union activists,” a rep from the Exeter mail centre told Socialist Worker. “But their whole strategy now seems to be falling apart.”
Royal Mail managers, having recently awarded themselves a series of large bonuses, have decided to spread goodwill to the entire workforce.
The company’s efficiency scheme bonus, including backdated payments, will arrive in the pay packets of thousands of post workers this week. The amount? 33p.