Why did your branch committee vote to recommend a no vote?
We made an informed decision based on all the facts. I didn't make this decision until I'd gone to a number of meetings, including national briefings. This agreement is not the worst agreement, but it's not the best agreement either. In Portsmouth, the financial losses are too great to support it. We are not getting enough information. We have a mail centre that could be closed, we're not being given information either way about that. To accept this vote would be relying on information that we don't have.
A postal worker in Portsmouth doing deliveries could be losing £30 a week via this agreement. I'm not slating our negotiators who look at things nationally, but we are a high-volume area for door-to-door mail. But we are looking at our mail centre staff and our delivery staff and seeing how they get on.
We know that our mail centre is high on the list for closure; the building is not fit for purpose. They're talking about reducing 50% of mail centres, and the agreement doesn't give us any assurance as to the future of our mail centre.
How are you campaigning for a no vote?
The same way we would as if we had voted for a yes vote. We've put letters out, we're putting it out on facebook. We put notices up in the mail centre, but because it was a no vote, management have taken it down. And if this agreement is about building new relationships with management and they're taking that sort of action, it doesn't bode well. It's a CWU noticeboard, it's a CWU letter, it wasn't appropriate to take that down and that will only antagonise our members more.
Why do you think the PEC voted overwhelmingly to accept a deal that is bad for delivery staff and gives no assurance on mail centre closures?
I can't speak for the PEC because I'm not on the PEC. I'm a branch secretary.
What would you advise to branches who are opposed to the agreement if it wins in a ballot?
We will have to campaign possibly through motions to conference on the situation. It's democracy, it's a national ballot and we will have to live with it.
What do you think of the idea of a national meeting of branches campaigning for a no vote?
I can't see that it would do any harm - but it would be a committee decision as to whether we would get involved.