France: Posties prepare for strikes

La Poste van

Workers in seven French departments have given official notice of strike action in relation to a dispute over overtime payments.

The upcoming elections will require large amounts of extra deliveries, postal workers are demanding that they be paid a standard rate for deliveries as their estimate of the number of extra hours required differs heavily from management's. Management are claiming that the average worker will have to deliver an extra 580 envelopes and will be paid on average 7.5 hours overtime per week. Unions are calling for an one hour of overtime to be paid for every 30 envelopes delivered.

These envelopes weigh 125g each, posties will have an extra 75 kilos of post to deliver. Over the course of the four rounds 172 million pieces of electoral mail will be delivered. The CGT claims that as the post office is receiving a euro per item their demand for an overtime payment which works out at 35 cents per item is reasonable. SUD estimates the income for all this extra work at 44M euros, of which only 35M euros will be spent paying the workers.

Sud and the CGT gave notice of strike action in l’Essonne, le Tarn, le Gers, les Bouches-du-Rhône, la Réunion, Les Pyrénées-Atlantiques, le Cher. FO and CFTC quickly followed suit. The notice is for unlimited strike action beginning on either Monday or Tuesday depending upon the department. Many other departments are expected to follow suit.

The first set of extra deliveries is scheduled to begin on the 16th of April, the danger that the election will be affected gives the workers a stronger hand than usual.