Royal Mail staff walk out over suspension of senior union reps
POSTIES at nine delivery offices downed tools in an unofficial strike yesterday.
Workers in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire walked out to demand the reinstatement of two union reps suspended over allegedly claiming for unauthorised overtime.
A source close to the dispute said Royal Mail bosses had taken advantage of “an opportunity to target some senior reps” and had suspended the workers without following agreed processes.
They said it was “quite convenient” for management to “take some senior players out of the cards” ahead of a possible industrial punch-up over pensions.
Post workers could stage a national strike later this year if Royal Mail does not back down over its plans to move to a less generous pensions scheme.
The claims against the two suspended reps followed “custom and practice” working terms in use across Royal Mail, the Star understands.
The source said Royal Mail was rolling out a “crackdown over corporate compliance” and was seeking to impose changes to working practices rather than consult with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) which represents its employees.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said the suspended reps were “under attack” from management. He offered his “solidarity and full support” to the workers.
The reps were suspended on Friday, and workers became aware via word of mouth and social media, and then picketed the sites on Monday morning.
The strike has affected the delivery offices in Bletchley, Brinklow, Kiln Farm, Dunstable, Leagrave, Luton, Bedford, Newport Pagnell and Leighton Buzzard.
Royal Mail spokeswoman Julie Pirone said: “Royal Mail is disappointed that unballoted industrial action has taken place this morning at several delivery offices.
“We sincerely apologise to customers in these areas for any disruption to their mail services. We are doing all we can to minimise this disruption and we encourage our staff to come back to work.
“Royal Mail is fully committed to the process to resolve concerns of postal workers in these areas by following the national jointly agreed framework with the Communication Workers Union.”