Royal Mail management is pushing ahead with the introduction of a change in start times for delivery workers.
But, fearful of the prospect of more strike action in response to the imposed change, management has put back the introduction to 17 September.
The heads of Royal Mail have long suggested that they would like to move to a start time of 6am across all
delivery offices, without negotiating the change with the postal workers’ CWU union.
Whenever it is introduced, the new start time will force many post workers to work until later in the day, causing disruption for those who have built family life and other commitments around shifts that generally begin one hour earlier.
In particular, many delivery workers will have to work later on a Saturday, making it harder to spend quality time with their families.
In what appears to be a concession, Royal Mail has now guaranteed to continue with the exisiting £12.50 weekly shift allowance as a result of the later start.
Importantly however this will only be for existing workers.
This creates the possibility of creating a two-tier work force in deliveries.
So for instance for the new workers, the lack of the £12.50 allowance would wipe out the miserly 2.5 percent pay offer.
Prior to the latest offer Bob Gibson, the CWU assistant secretary, told Socialist Worker that management was attempting to create confusion.
He said, “It was telling some areas of the country that it plans to implement this change, and put up notices on boards to this effect. But in other places, there is no mention of it at all.”
It is the threat of an escaltion of action that forced the concession over allowances.
It shows how weak Royal Mail management is in the dispute. But Royal Mail bosses must not be allowed to divide and rule.
If management can do this over start times, even with guarantees over the allowances, it sets a dangerous precedent.
This is not just for new workers on deliveries but for the whole workforce.