Socialist Worker

Scandalous treatment of postal workers East London Mail Centre

Issue No. 1885

IMAGINE FACING the sack for an alleged offence against a person whose identity is never revealed to you. And then add that management will not tell you when or where the offence is supposed to have taken place.

Management has meted out this scandalous treatment to two postal workers at the East London Mail Centre. The final verdict on the case was due on Wednesday this week.

The CWU union has sanctioned a strike ballot over the issue. But officials are not convinced workers will meekly wait for this to take its course.

The two night shift workers are caught up in a nightmare world where they cannot prepare a proper defence because they do not know what they are supposed to have done.

The charge sheets against them are extraordinary productions. They say the two are guilty of gross misconduct because they have allegedly harassed a witness in another case. But all the key facts are blacked out!

As one of those accused told Socialist Worker, 'Maybe my defence could be that I wasn't at work that day, or that at the time in question I wasn't on shift, or that I have witnesses who saw a conversation I had with the person in question. But I can't say any of this. It's really scary that these things can happen.'

Angie Mulcahy, the CWU union area processing rep, says, 'At every stage in the disciplinary procedure workers are supposed to be advised of the full charges against them and the opportunity to state their case. It is the branch's view that management in east London are either unable or unwilling to carry out the agreed procedures correctly and in line with national agreements. If cases like this are happening in well organised offices, imagine what management think they can get away with where the union is weaker. Together with the Paul Turnbull case in Cambridge, this case shows the urgent need for management to stop abusing the disciplinary procedure.'

The CWU branch has given Socialist Worker a list of the main management failings in the case. Every postal worker should be aware of these facts.

  • The two have never been informed of the exact reasons for the action taken against them.

  • No documentation was provided at the fact-finding interview, despite requests for any to be made available.

  • Precautionary suspensions are supposed to be reviewed after 48 hours and at reasonable periods thereafter. This has not happened.

  • The two members in question were suspended on 19 November 2003 by a low level manager (JV4), even though the person who is supposed to do this task (JV2) was available.


    Plymouth

    POSTAL WORKERS in Plymouth have won big concessions after threatening to strike. They were to take action last week, but management caved in just before strikes were due to start.

    Post workers won part time jobs becoming full time, more flexible annual leave, and an apology from Royal Mail over claims that the CWU union had acted illegally over the dispute.

    PETE HEDDLE


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    Sat 24 Jan 2004, 00:00 GMT
    Issue No. 1885
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