Socialist Worker

Postal workers: 'Damned if we do'

by a Bow Locks worker
Issue No. 1976

Postal workers at the East London mail centre at Bow Locks have pushed back an outrageous assault from management.

Bosses raised with workers that health and safety regulations meant they should only push one of the mail trolleys (“Yorks”) at a time.

Workers duly obliged and also insisted on the correct implementation of all the regulations.

They were then told by management that they were taking part in unofficial industrial action and that a union rep would have his facility time withdrawn for a period as a punishment.

The row came to a head on Friday night of last week when, due to turmoil in the office, a lot of work did not go out.

Management then brought in ten casual drivers.

When they reached the gatehouse they were, quite properly under regulations, asked for their driving licences and other documents.

They were unable to produce these and were sent away. Management were a bit annoyed!

Many workers were ready to walk out over the attacks in the office, but waited until after a meeting with management.

On Monday evening bosses backed off and now we are obeying all the regulations — and want more workers to cover the work.

The background to these events is the increase in work at Bow Locks.

Problems at the Watford office have meant some work has been rerouted to us and Mount Pleasant, and in addition we are getting lots of “downstream access” work.

This is where private companies such as TNT collect mail and then dump it with Royal Mail for final sorting and delivery.

Royal Mail want us to work harder to cover this work with only a few extra workers.


The threat of a strike at London’s N1 office (see Postal workers, 29 October) has pushed back management’s attempt to go round the union and canvass workers individually for redundancy or transfer as a precursor to job cuts.

Management have now agreed that they will put aside the outcome of this preference exercise and not use them at any time in the future.

Workers have agreed to enter into further negotiations in line with the industrial relations framework and produce counter proposals.

But they have reiterated their position against job cuts and that if management tries to introduce any form of cuts the ballot for industrial action will definitely go ahead.


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Article information

News
Sat 12 Nov 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1976
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