Socialist Worker

Postal workers walk out in Southampton after steward is suspended

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2386

Some 90 post workers at Shirley delivery office in Southampton walked out of work on Wednesday of last week.

The wildcat strike came after worker Chris Lawrie was suspended. Bosses claimed he did not complete his deliveries.

CWU area delivery rep Rob Hayhurst said, “An individual CWU rep was suspended this morning and as far as everyone was concerned here, he followed the correct procedure, so we took action.”

Workers returned to work soon after, but the issue of the suspension was not resolved as Socialist Worker went to press.

Rob said rage at months of bullying and harassment lay behind the walkout. He said, “Say you finish at 2pm but there’s lots of mail still to deliver, the procedure is that you call in and say you’ll bring it back for someone else to deliver. 

“But recently we have been threatened with suspensions or docked pay to complete deliveries, even if we finish much later than we should.”

Such harassment will only increase under the terms of a new deal the CWU says it has reached with Royal Mail bosses.

Union members will begin voting on the deal on Wednesday of this week. It is crucial that they vote to reject it.

The agreement talks of “building a climate of sustainable trust with a can do culture” and “improving efficiency”. 

This will mean increased workloads and more pressure for workers.

And the deal states that Royal Mail can withdraw the agreement under what it calls “exceptional circumstances”. 

One of these is if the union calls a national strike. 

The agreement will be reviewed again in 2019, so this is effectively a no-strike deal for five years. This would be disastrous for the union.

The Southampton walkout shows workers already feel bitterness and anger at the way bosses treat them. This will get worse if the deal goes through.

Thanks to Geoff Breeze

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Article information

Tue 14 Jan 2014, 18:22 GMT
Issue No. 2386
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