Why is your branch advocating a no vote?
"The decision to oppose the deal was made jointly by the unit reps, our senior reps and the branch committee. There was a lot of feedback from the reps from the shop floor. They felt the members weren't happy with a deal and the branch committee thought the same thing. The primary thing was that we went on strike last year against certain changes that management was imposing, things like late Saturdays, new delivery methods brought in by stealth, and we think that these still exist hidden in the new deal. We haven't seen anything saying what the call rates and the walk speeds would be under the deal and we think we are being led in blind. And late Saturdays is a big impact, especially in SE Wales where people play a lot of sport on a Saturday, spend time with families and so on. And as for the promise for a Saturday off in four or whatever it is, we can't see Royal Mail committing to that.
"We have started out our campaign already. The branch has put out a couple of copies of our local newsletter, the Grapevine, and they will be putting out another just before the ballot."
Why do you think the PEC voted for this deal?
"I think they might have been put in a situation where they could not vote against the deal, someone might have come back and said, 'there is no other deal forthcoming, it's this or nothing'. They might have had no room for manouevre. But our branch thinks there could be a different work pattern on Saturdays: why not?"
Supporters of the agreement claim that 'there is no plan B'. What do you say to that?
"As someone who has been a unit rep for some time, I know there is always a plan B. You don't go in and give away everything all at once, you give and take, but you always leave yourself some room, you don't show your hand all at once. So, on the door-to-door, we would have preferred a gradual change in the rates, or a gradual work up towards a different work pattern on a Saturday. They say they can't go back. But what happens if there is a no vote? Where do they go then?
"Senior managers identify reps and branches that are voting no. It's not so much in-your-face victimisation. We put up a “no” poster and someone defaced it with a sticker, and we expect it was a manager."