Anger over mail workload

Submitted by AWL on 11 September, 2019 - 8:32 Author: Gerry Bates
royal mail

Postal workers’ union CWU is preparing to ballot its members in Royal Mail for strikes.

The dispute is over a range of issues arising from what the union says is Royal Mail bosses’ failure to implement an agreement reached in 2017, for which strikes planned then were suspended. A key plank of the agreement was a commitment to reduce the working week, which has been reneged upon.

The union is also in dispute over Royal Mail’s plans to restructure parcel delivery work, with its Parcelforce arm possibly being separated off. The CWU says this restructure could threaten thousands of jobs.

The ballot runs from 17 September to 8 October.

A postal worker in South Yorkshire spoke to Solidarity about the campaign:

“There’s a huge mood around this ballot. In my area, the union is getting the work done in terms of getting materials out and contacting individual members. A key mechanism is the ‘gate meetings’, meetings of large groups of workers outside the workplace.

“These have been taking place this week and last at depots and offices in my locality, and there’s one due at my workplace on 11 September.

“One area where things could be improved is the engagement of part-time workers. Because of their working patterns, the gate meetings aren’t necessarily accessible for them. Most of the new hires recently have been part-time, and they’re also overwhelmingly younger workers, so it’s important to engage them.

“We need a continual presence at the gates of workplaces to speak to people as they’re coming in.

“People are incredibly pissed off with management. There’s a deep feeling of resentment at the way conditions have worsened since privatisation. Although this dispute is about a range of issues, where I am people feel it most centrally to be a dispute about workload. The agreement to reduce the working week stalled after a year, and we’re experiencing workload increases that often mean we’re working past our shift finish times.

“We can’t bring mail back to the office, so we have to keep going until it’s all delivered, even if that means working past the time our shift ends.”

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