Socialist Worker

Plymouth postal workers stage unofficial walkouts

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2665

CWU union members outside the delivery office

CWU union members outside the delivery office


Postal workers at a Royal Mail delivery office in Plymouth returned to work victorious after a three-day unofficial strike last week.

Members of the CWU union at the West Park delivery office walked out without an official ballot last Wednesday, alleging bullying and harassment by a manager.

They only went back to work on Saturday after three days of action forced bosses to the table and won an agreement.

CWU Plymouth and East Cornwall branch secretary Ralph Ferrett told Socialist Worker, “I would like to salute the strength of our members who took three days of action.

“The CWU was very disappointed at the length of time it took to reach an agreement.

“However the union and the

members in the office are very satisfied with the comprehensive return to work agreement.”

The strike was the third unofficial walkout in Devon and Cornwall in recent weeks.

Workers at Royal Mail delivery offices in Ivybridge in Devon, and Bude in Cornwall, also took action over bullying and harassment.

They’re the latest in a string of walkouts at Royal Mail workplaces across Britain over a culture of bullying.

Many activists feel bullying is getting worse—and could lead to a national dispute. “After three walkouts in our area—two of them at quiet rural delivery offices—it’s time that Royal Mail address the way their workers are treated at work,” said Ralph.

In another sign of spreading anger, CWU members at the Shirley delivery office in Southampton voted by 91 percent last week for industrial acion.

National

It came as CWU deputy general secretary postal Terry Pullinger told union reps to prepare for a national industrial action ballot.

Royal Mail top bosses are breaking from an agreement struck with the CWU early 2018, which promised a “change in culture”.

It also promised a shorter working week linked to pay rises and “savings” in Royal Mail workplaces.

But in two video messages to CWU members last week, Pullinger said talks over the shorter working week had “gone backwards”.

And he said that the union wanted external mediation.

Pullinger also said, “We are still having walkouts in certain offices, where members are defending

themselves because of managers bullying and harassing them.

“The culture is not changing. It’s another aspect of our agreement that’s not being delivered and we have to stand up and defend ourselves.

“Get ready to start getting your membership records straight in case we get to a situation where we have to deliver a ballot.”


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