Postal workers’ union CWU is planning a strike ballot of around 100,000 workers in Royal Mail, with the vote due to run from 17 September to 8 October.
The union also balloted Royal Mail workers last year, succeeding in meeting the thresholds of the anti-union laws, but strikes were called off after bosses agreed to a number of concessions, including a reduction in the working week from 39 to 35 hours. CWU now says the company is not abiding by this agreement.
A postal worker told Solidarity: “There are other issues in the background to the dispute as well. There’s widespread bullying and harassment from managers, especially towards union reps. That’s prompted unofficial walkouts at various delivery offices across the country, which have become as frequent as one a week.
“Royal Mail is also planning to restructure how it runs the delivery part of the business. As a delivery worker, I deliver letters and parcels of all sizes. But Royal Mail may now recategorise items depending on size, so larger parcels will be assigned to a specialist delivery driver.
“That’s not dissimilar from how work was organised pre-privatisation, but the fear now is that this restructure will be used as a pretext to cut jobs. The risk is that this restructure will be railroaded through without proper consultation, so the dispute is also about the issue of job security.
“The plan is to dump Parcel Force with all the larger packets, further separate Parcel Force from Royal Mail, and turn Parcel Force into a company comparable with DPD or Yodel and with similar business practices.
“Also, it turns out that all but one of the executive management who negotiated the deal with union two years ago have been removed since then.
“The build-up of pressure from these issues has forced the union leadership to act.”