Socialist Worker

Swindon postal workers' wildcat strike gets suspended rep reinstated

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2518

The strikers in Swindon work for Royal Mail

The strikers in Swindon work for Royal Mail (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Postal workers on unofficial strike in Swindon ended their walkout last night, Wednesday, after a suspended rep was reinstated.

Members of the CWU union at Swindon’s Dorcan sorting office walked out yesterday morning after bosses suspended union rep Chris Rye. As many as 1,000 more workers at other offices across Swindon walked out in solidarity.

Chris had spoken out over claims that another worker’s sick pay had been stopped. Bosses responded by accusing him of bullying.

But now the CWU has confirmed that Chris’s suspension has been lifted after workers launched the unofficial action yesterday. An investigation into the allegations is still to go ahead.

Richard from the CWU South West No.7 branch told Socialist Worker, “The agreement was that the suspension would be lifted and they will be looking into the bullying and harassment claims.”

Richard added that the walkout followed long-running complaints that managers had been bullying workers.

He said, “The feeling is quite strong across the whole area. There’s an intimidating and bullying management style”. He also said that managers had not been complying with a number of national agreements between Royal Mail and the CWU.

Strikers yesterday complained that there had long been a problem with bullying and harassment from managers.

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.”

Complaints of bosses bullying workers are commonplace in Royal Mail offices across Britain as managers try to force heavier workloads onto workers, such as taking on more deliveries.

The walkout also comes as Royal Mail is preparing an assault on workers’ pensions. The CWU has said it could ballot for strikes over the attack.

The Swindon walkout shows that unofficial action can stop bullying bosses—and that workers are willing to fight.

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