Socialist Worker

Swindon postal workers walk out after management suspend rep

Issue No. 2518

Jeremy Corbyn on a CWU protest last year

Jeremy Corbyn on a CWU protest last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Postal workers in Wiltshire staged an unofficial walkout this morning, Wednesday, after bosses suspended a union rep.

Members of the CWU union at a delivery office in Swindon staged the wildcat action after a show of hands this morning. Workers at other offices around Swindon walked out in solidarity.

Hundreds of strikers joined a mass picket outside the Dorcan delivery office in Swindon. A possible 1,000 workers were reported to be involved across Swindon including in the mail centre.

The walkout comes after bosses accused CWU rep and branch secretary Chris Rye of bullying a manager and suspended him. Chris had spoken out over claims that bosses had stopped another worker’s sick pay.

Bullying

But workers say there has long been a problem with bullying and harassment from managers. And there are complaints that bosses have not been paying workers properly and have drastically reduced overtime.

One worker said, “Enough is enough. They have treated people badly for so long and now they go and suspend Chris for no reason. It’s ridiculous.”

CWU rep Steve Cox said, “We have had seven or eight different managers in the past two years, which is far too many, and there has been an awful lot of bullying and harassment.

“We are now at the stage were the staff have had enough after the union rep was suspended yesterday on trumped up charges.”

He added, “We want to do things the correct way and resolve the issues properly, but Royal Mail seem to think that in this day and age it is ok to bully and harass people.

“By suspending our area rep they knew we would be forced into taking this action.”

Anger

CWU regional secretary Kevin Beazer added that the walkout was the result of workers’ “anger and frustration due to the actions of the employer.”

He said that bosses’ behaviour had led to an industrial relations review between management and the union.

“But rather than deal with these important issues in a sensible and pragmatic manner it appears management have taken a very aggressive step by suspending one of our senior CWU representatives, which has now led to a mass walkout by our members.”

Talks between CWU officials and bosses were ongoing and the strikers have not gone back to work.


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