Socialist Worker

Unofficial strike against work plan and ‘bullying’

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2616

Workers hold a meeting outside the delivery office in Plymout

Workers hold a meeting outside the delivery office in Plymout (Pic: CWU)


Postal workers at a Royal Mail delivery office in Plymouth staged an unofficial strike for a full day last Saturday. They didn’t return until they reached a deal on Monday.

Members of the CWU union at the West Park delivery office walked out on Saturday morning. Ralph Ferrett, branch secretary of the CWU’s Plymouth and East Cornwall Amal branch told Socialist Worker the walkout was due to “an issue of bullying and harassment and treatment by managers”.

But he added that a recent ­re-division of work and delivery routes was “at the root of some of the problems people have”.

Some 65 workers—a majority of the office last Saturday—are said to have taken part in the walkout, which affected deliveries across two postcodes.

Agreement

The strikers agreed to return to work after CWU officials negotiated an agreement with bosses over the new work plan at the office.

They received messages of support and solidarity from Royal Mail workers and CWU members across Britain.

The CWU’s official Facebook page told them, “The whole union is with you.” Many messages of support on the page pointed to similar issues at other Royal Mail workplaces.

Recent walkouts at Royal Mail offices have centred on claims of bullying by managers. The walkout in Plymouth follows one over similar issues in Ferndale, South Wales, in June.

Royal Mail workers increasingly face longer deliveries and pressure from bosses to work more ­“efficiently” in the wake of privatisation.

Royal Mail bosses promised a “cultural change” in management attitudes in an agreement that headed off a major dispute last year.

Yet at CWU postal conference in April, several workers and delegates spoke of how they’d seen no difference.

Postal worker Tony Buckley said on the CWU Facebook page, “If there is one thing that needs tackling in Royal Mail, it’s all the bullying and favouritism that goes on. It needs to stop.”

Another, Robert Blake said, “What is it with the bullying culture within Royal Mail?”

And Stewart Mcewan said, “This is getting more and more common ­everywhere. I can see this only ending in widespread action.”


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