The ink on the agreement signed by Royal Mail and the postal workers’ union may not yet be dry, but already bosses have shown that they are attempting to string out local talks and keep existing attacks in place.
Union reps across Britain have told Socialist Worker that managers are attempting to maintain “executive action”—changes to workers’ terms and conditions imposed without agreement.
Johnny Hunt, branch secretary of Essex CWU, says that management in his area have told the union that the attacks they have rammed through are “not up for discussion”.
“We’re absolutely livid,” he told Socialist Worker on Tuesday. “Our reps are meeting now, and unless there’s a change from management, we’ll be putting in a request to restart our local strikes.”
In north London, union reps report that managers are refusing to discuss the reallocation of delivery rounds and any proposed job losses. Workers at one office were threatened with having their pay suspended after management claimed they were “not meeting the required standards”.
Paul Cox, a senior union rep at the Nine Elms mail centre in south London, reports that work which has been diverted away from his office as a management punishment has not yet been returned.
This is affecting opportunities for workers to earn overtime.
“Managers here seem to be playing for time,” he told Socialist Worker. “The agreement clearly states that our work should be returned, but we’ve not been able to get that commitment so far.
“I think they are trying to string this out in order to undermine the union.”
In Oxford, union branch secretary Paul Garraway reports that Royal Mail is planning to sack casual workers who have worked for the company for less than two years and reemploy them on 25-hour contracts, rather than the 40-hour contracts agreed with the union.
“It’s yet another clear breach of the agreement,” Paul told Socialist Worker.
“The TUC should have been organising solidarity with our strikes—not brokering sham talks.
“My members are spitting mad about this and want the national action back on.
“If we move quickly, we can still hit the bosses during the Christmas period. But there’s not a minute to lose.”