Desperate Royal Mail bosses are setting up secret mail centres around the country in an effort to undermine the highly effective strike action by postal workers.
Socialist Worker has evidence that in Dartford, Kent, the company is recruiting non-union casual staff in their hundreds to process mail normally handled in London’s mail centres.
Managers there told this reporter – who posed as a jobseeker – that 100 casual staff, working two shifts, were already being employed.
And they said there would be “plenty more” jobs soon.
An advertisement in last week’s News Shopper local newspaper says Royal Mail is seeking warehouse staff for its Dartford operation.
It is offering just the minimum wage of £5.80 an hour, through the Manpower recruitment agency.
“The adverts for casuals in Dartford offer four-month contracts, but it’s way too early for Christmas staff,” a union rep at the official Dartford mail centre told Socialist Worker.
“The business would not normally start taking them on until November at the earliest.”
With upwards of 20 million items of undelivered mail clogging up offices in London alone, managers are desperate to stop strikers earning overtime by clearing the backlog.
“We estimate that four million items of mail are being stored in the Dartford scabbing operation,” says the rep.
“More mail is going into that place on a daily basis than would come to us in a whole week.”
The Dartford site is not just for storage. Royal Mail is planning to process mail there too.
“Drivers and engineers who have been in the building report that so far 50 sorting frames have been brought in from around the country,” the rep says.
“Another 50 are expected to be shipped down from Newcastle any day now.
“Every day another ten articulated lorries full of work from London is going in there.
“The company is trying to starve the mail centres as punishment for going on strike.”
There are rumours of similar operations in Bristol, Peterborough, Swindon and elsewhere.
So it is vital that the postal workers’ CWU union uses all its strength to continue building the backlog of mail.
No scabbing operation, no matter how elaborate, can cope with regular and hard-hitting action.
“The only way to deal with this kind of provocation is launching a national fight,” says the rep.
“In the meantime, everyone in areas like mine, which are not yet on strike, should ensure that they are not doing anything at work that would undermine the local strike action.”
If you have information on scab centres in your area phone Socialist Worker on 020 7819 1180