Socialist Worker

Post bosses to blame for delivery crisis

by London CWU member
Issue No. 2062

Disputes are growing in London over management provocations in delivery offices.

It is normal practice for workers to occasionally do deliveries in addition to their own workload. These deliveries (known as “belateds”) attract a payment equivalent to eight hours work. Management rely on this happening to cover the work.

However, during the strikes bosses in some areas have unilaterally cut the payment to six hours, which means that workers lost around £12 a time. They have therefore declined the offer to cover the deliveries.

Were they to accept the reduced hours, they would not only be working below the rate, but they would also set a precedent for deliveries to be covered by part-timers in the future.

Because the delivery workers have refused to voluntarily do the deliveries, managers have been trying to cover them. Top bosses, on £70,000 a year, are attempting to do the duties of postal workers. And they are failing.

They can’t cover the work and are facing revolt from among their own number who don’t like being asked to actually get out on the streets.

The result is that some walks are not being covered at all, creating failures in the universal service obligation (USO). This is the duty Royal Mail has to provide a service to everybody.

In order to avoid fines for USO failure, managers are claiming that workers are taking unofficial industrial action. In fact they are only refusing to volunteer for this job unless they are paid the proper rate.

Royal Mail’s action shows the contempt they have for the public, the service, and the workforce.

In the latest desperate move, managers are threatening to forcibly shift workers from their normal walk to the ones that are not being covered. Were this to happen it would be an extraordinary provocation.

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Article information

Mon 6 Aug 2007, 18:53 BST
Issue No. 2062
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