Socialist Worker

Postal workers deliver wildcat strikes to Royal Mail

by Kim Hunter and Nick Clark
Issue No. 2559

Workers walked out of Scarboroughs sorting office

Workers walked out of Scarborough's sorting office


A wave of wildcat walkouts hit four Royal Mail offices over the past week with strikes in Canterbury, Scarborough, east London and Carmarthen.

Around 70 people walked out of Canterbury’s Military Road sorting office on Thursday of last week after six workers were reportedly suspended.

Strikers said the six had been suspended after bosses piled on extra work on top of their normal deliveries without giving them enough time to do it.

Post workers’ unofficial walkout forces Royal Mail bosses to lift reps’ suspension
Post workers’ unofficial walkout forces Royal Mail bosses to lift reps’ suspension
  Read More

One worker said they were under constant pressure from managers. “The post workers have to complete their deliveries or they will be suspended,” he said.

“It compromises their safety because they have to get it done. Anything could happen to them if they’re rushing. People went in today with legitimate answers and the bosses still suspended them.”

Reneged

Another walkout on Friday morning saw workers at Scarborough’s sorting office take action after senior management reneged on new working hours.

Agreements would have seen a permanent increase in hours for some workers and full time for others.

But workers said that when the contracts arrived they were not permanent as expected.

Instead the contracts were a trial that will run for a few weeks while management decide whether the arrangements work for them.

Eddie Milne said he had walked out with CWU union members even though he is currently not in the union.

He told Socialist Worker, “They went back on their word. We walked out because we’re always having the piss taken out of us.”

CWU rep Mark Hornby didn’t want to comment as he believed the dispute was close to being resolved.

The union agreed the original terms on a temporary basis because too many people lacked the confidence to stay out and push for permanent contracts.

But another postal worker said they would come out again in a few weeks if the original agreement is not honoured.

Postal workers also walked out of east London’s Whitechapel delivery office. Bosses had allegedly docked the pay of a young woman who had to take sick leave instead of annual leave to look after her child.

And workers walked out briefly in Carmarthen, West Wales, after bosses tried to force through “unagreed cuts”.

The walkouts point to a mood to take action against bosses’ attacks.

Royal Mail is preparing a huge attack on pay and conditions—and the CWU said earlier this year it could ballot for strikes. Last week’s walkouts show the type of action that can stop the bosses.


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