Socialist Worker

Postal bosses deliver 17,000 more job cuts

Issue No. 1804

POST OFFICE bosses plan to announce another 17,000 job cuts this week. This is on top of huge job cuts earlier in the year. The cull is based on huge changes to deliveries. These include the 'Starburst' plan, which involves groups of three to five workers sent into towns with a van full of mail and then 'blitzing' areas. Other changes mean extending rounds from two and a half hours to four hours without a break.

Residential customers would get mail as late as 1pm, while businesses would continue to receive deliveries in the early morning. Management is supposed to be trialling the new ways of working at 14 offices. But a secret memo revealed last week shows they have already made arrangements to introduce them in 350 offices by November, and more than 1,000 within a year. The union leaders are refusing to oppose the job cuts head on.

John Keggie, the CWU union's deputy general secretary, said last week that the union was ready to 'manage the problem' of 'surplus staff' so long as the redundancies were voluntary. 'We recognise there need to be changes to delivery,' says Keggie. That means harder working and opening the door to more privatisation. As part of the 'new spirit', Post Office chairman Allan Leighton agreed to up his work rate. He will now do two days a week instead of one!

Union leaders should be opposing the employers' agenda, not smoothing its acceptance. The union's conference in a week's time will be an important arena to argue for a new approach.

ROYAL MAIL workers have voted to accept the pay deal recommended by their union leaders. However, around a third of those who voted rejected the offer. Postal workers voted overwhelmingly in January for a strike over pay. But the union leaders refused to call action.

POSTAL WORKERS in Belfast walked out on unofficial strike on Monday. Workers walked out of the city's main delivery centre in Tomb Street following allegations that a manager assaulted a worker.

Peter Hamill from the CWU said that Royal Mail should have waited for a written report from the union before returning the manager to normal duties.

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Sat 15 Jun 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1804
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