Socialist Worker

Royal Mail ratchets up the tension in the post office

Issue No. 1984

Royal Mail's cost-cutting is creating the conditions for a possible national dispute.

Across Britain offices are being asked to make “savings” that will impact on the service, on jobs and on earnings.

In Dundee workers at the east delivery office have voted 82 percent for a strike, while the west office has voted 79 percent for a strike. Some 280 workers have been voting on action in protest at the downgrading of full time posts.

Joe Malone, branch secretary of the CWU union’s Scotland Number 5 branch which covers Dundee, told Socialist Worker, “In the past people who joined on 30 hours a week contracts and performed satisfactorily had the opportunity to apply for full time jobs.

“Now those people are being offered permanent 30-hours a week jobs.

“We are prepared to discuss the question of hours in the office with management, but we are determined to protect full time working. You cannot live on the wage of a 30-hour a week post. It is now up to management to respond to the feeling that the strike vote has revealed. The clock is ticking.'

Yet while Royal Mail insists it must cut costs, there is still plenty of money for the bosses’ priorities. In east London the Bow Locks centre has been flooded with managers from outside the office — at great expense. They are there to police staff and many workers say they have found them intimidating.

The result is worsening performance.

CWU deputy general secretary postal Dave Ward told branches last week, “There is overwhelming evidence that rather than deal with competition in a common sense way, managers are operating panic-driven measures.

“We have said it is completely unacceptable to the union that management were looking to introduce savings without appropriate consultation or negotiation.

“If this managerial approach continues it is inevitable this will lead to further branch requests for industrial action.

“The union would support such requests and this could lead to industrial action on a wider national scale.”

If Royal Mail does not back off it will not be enough to fight office by office. It will need national action.

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Sat 21 Jan 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1984
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