Socialist Worker

Casual mail workers walk out in Cornwall

by Keith Shilson
Issue No. 2283

Workers at the mail centre in Truro in Cornwall walked out yesterday as they had not been paid. Every December, Royal Mail takes on casual workers to help sort the Christmas mail. These are typically students or the long-term unemployed. Workers in Truro complained to management when they were not paid on time at the end of last week.

The casual workers came in on Monday to find nothing was resolved and walked out unofficially. They agreed to work on Tuesday, but said they would walk out again if they had not been paid by the end of the day.

This is a brave action from a group of non-unionised workers who must fear being sacked. But the Christmas post period is short, so Royal Mail would probably not have time to replace them.

It is a sign of the times they had the confidence to go on strike. Just two weeks ago there was a huge march and rally in Truro as part of the N30 public sector strikes.

The action had a knock-on effect across Cornwall. Brian Eddy, the CWU union rep in Penzance Delivery Office said, 'We've had less than half the mail come in than we would usually get and that's because of the walkout in Truro'.

The issue of wages not being paid, or at least overtime not being paid in full, is one that affects every postal worker in Cornwall.

Many workers have had enough and are talking about refusing to do overtime in the future. Most postal workers are proud of the job they do and do not want to fail to deliver all the mail. But many now feel that it is only by doing this that things will change and Royal Mail will employ the staff that is required. There is also a fear that senior management are preparing the ground for privatisation.

Postal workers should put pressure on their union reps to ballot the membership for strike action so that the CWU can join the next wave of mass co-ordinated strike action.

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Article information

Thu 15 Dec 2011, 13:52 GMT
Issue No. 2283
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