POSTAL WORKERS in many parts of Britain have won significant concessions over Christmas working arrangements. The moves follow an avalanche of requests for strike ballots. The biggest gains are in London where, according to one union member, 'we have rewritten the national agreement between Royal Mail and the union, a deal which we did not like and should never have been accepted.'
Strike votes have forced improvements in guaranteed overtime, staffing levels and conditions. However, in some offices managers have refused to budge. It is possible that during the Christmas period there will be walkouts over the attempt to make postal workers do more work for less money than last year. Delivery offices in Hackney, east London, were set to strike this week but it was called off by the executive at the last minute.
Around 100 drivers at the Dorset mail centre, Poole, have voted for strikes over the relocation of their jobs to Bournemouth.
The Post Office has announced a 'loss' of £386 million for the first half of 1999-2000. This will be used to demand more 'savings' from the workforce. But the figure is a gross distortion. Sales during this period actually increased by 9 percent to £3,623 million. Operating profit was up by 4 percent to £157 million.
What pushed the figures into the red was a £571 million 'exceptional charge' associated with the botched PFI scheme for the automation of Post Office Counters. Post Office workers should reject any management lie that the business is in trouble because the workforce won't 'modernise'.