Royal Mail managers in north London are provoking possible strike action by introducing 35-hour contracts for new workers, instead of the 40-hour contracts that are agreed with the postal workers’ CWU union.
Workers at the Upper Edmonton delivery office are now preparing to ballot for strikes in a move that may see other delivery offices in north London joining the action.
Mark Dolan, the union’s area delivery rep, told Socialist Worker that Royal Mail’s move was the first step towards introducing part-time working.
“Management are riding roughshod over agreements with the CWU with the aim of softening us up,” he said. “Everyone knows that the eventual aim is to bring in part-time contracts.
“The immediate effect of this is to force all existing workers to work harder. New employees are working less hours and so can deliver less mail, forcing the rest to pick up the pieces.
“It is already the case that our members are overworked, and that managers are now doing our work by loading and unloading vans.”
Mark says that the problem of new contracts with reduced hours is affecting many parts of the country but that so far the national union has failed to offer a clear strategy for resisting them.
“In areas like mine, where the union is strong, we are able to offer some resistance to these un-negotiated changes,” he says. “But in the areas where the union is weaker, we are getting rolled-over and management are getting away with it.
“That cannot be allowed to continue.”