Socialist Worker

Attacks on working conditions at Royal Mail

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2625


Battles are on the horizon at Royal Mail (Pic: Rossographer/Creative Commons)

Royal Mail postal workers lost out on hundreds of pounds due to privatisation last week—and now top bosses want to give them another kicking.

Workers were set to lose £895 on average after Royal Mail’s shares crashed last week.

They were given shares in 2013 as part of a deal bosses drew up with their CWU union to stop them striking against privatisation.

With two weeks until workers are able to sell theirs, bosses caused share prices to crash on Monday of last week by announcing an expected fall in profits.

Privatisation means Royal Mail is in competition with other parcel delivery companies as the number of letters it has to deliver falls.

Now bosses will use the share price crash to step up their drive for efficiency “savings”. This includes changes that are being trialled as part of an agreement between Royal Mail and the CWU that headed off a strike.

They will also want to use an agreement to shorten the working week to put more pressure on workers.

The CWU hopes the agreement to cut working hours from 39 hours to 35 hours a week will help protect against job losses. It says the workload will have to be shared out among more people.

But managers will pressure workers to do the same amount of work in less time.

CWU members at some Royal Mail workplaces have rejected these changes.

Pressure from management lay behind a number of unofficial strikes against bullying and harassment at delivery offices in the summer.

That pressure will increase as the volume of post rises in the run-up to Christmas—meaning there could be more disputes to come.

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