Socialist Worker

No to a two-tier workforce

Issue No. 2064

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, they have agreed to put back its introduction to 17 September.

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.

Many delivery workers will have to work later on a Saturday, making it harder to spend time with their families.

Royal Mail has promised to continue to pay a £12.50 weekly shift allowance to workers who will now have a later start.

But this will only be for existing workers. This could create a two-tier work force in deliveries. For new workers, the lack of the £12.50 allowance would wipe out the miserly 2.5 percent pay offer.

If management can do this over start times, even with guarantees over the allowances, it sets a dangerous precedent.

Post bosses offered to smuggle workers into depots and give them minders if they crossed picket lines. In a flyer to mail centres, staff were also offered a transfer to a different office to protect their identity.

The flyer – not on official Royal Mail paper – was headed “Fed up with losing money?” and gave a freephone number to call. The CWU branded it a “scab’s charter”.

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