Somerset postal workers walk out over suspensions

Somerset postal workers walk out over suspensions

100 Royal Mail workers walked out on unofficial strike on 9 February against the suspension of two colleagues.

This is Somerset reported that More than 100 postal workers in Somerset staged a wildcat walkout yesterday in a row over the suspension of two colleagues and threatened cuts.

Employees at the Bridgwater Delivery Office, one of the biggest in the West, took to the picket line in a bid to force a rethink on the issue by Royal Mail.

The row centres on allegations facing two members of delivery staff – one has been accused of intimidation by a colleague and the other is subject to a customer complaint.

But workers are also fearful of plans to cut 240 hours of work from the Bridgwater team, leaving many out of pocket or working part-time.

Phil Greenslade, who represents the Communication Workers Union for the Bridgwater branch, said the workforce was not comfortable with the way the individuals had been treated. He added that morale over yet more possible cuts to services was extremely low.

He said: “People are not happy with the way these investigations are being carried out and we feel Royal Mail is taking a very heavy-handed approach.

“We feel they are trying to get rid of people unnecessarily and however they can.

“These allegations have not been proven, we do not agree with what they have been accused of and this could all have been dealt with internally before the option of suspending the two postmen on full pay was taken.”

The protest was over almost as soon as it had begun, with staff returning to work after an hour-and-a-half, but the union will now seek a ballot for strike action.

Mr Greenslade said workers were anxious about the branch managers’ business plan which proposes the future cuts.

He said: “We have been through so many rounds of this already and this will mean work being taken away from people and others going part-time. They are not filling vacancies at the moment so it means we all have to work harder for less.”

Dave Wilshire, CWU Bristol and District branch secretary, added that the union had taken the steps to strike because it felt the suspensions marked a heavy-handed approach to discipline.

He said: “We hope Royal Mail will ensure there is a quick and fair investigation and make sure the disciplinary process isn’t used in a punitive and excessive manner.”

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Staff at the Royal Mail Bridgwater Delivery Office took unofficial industrial action for just over an hour this morning following the suspension of two delivery staff at the site. We are confident deliveries will be completed although customers will receive mail later than normal and Royal Mail apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Comments

Joseph Kay
Feb 15 2010 17:49

i've literally just written something for Catalyst on the incident at the same depot [edit: no it wasn't] before xmas, looks like i'll have to update it:

Plymouth posties’ Christmas cheer
POSTAL workers at West Park Delivery Office in Plymouth have forced management to reverse the sacking of their union rep. CWU rep Alastair Sinclair had been called to a dismissal interview in October, allegedly based on his attendance. Alastair had taken just 8 days sick in 9 years. Managers nonetheless sacked him. The workers response was immediate. A CWU member who wished to remain anonymous said:

“In perhaps the most unified moment I have seen in my 29 years in Royal Mail almost as one the whole office marched out of the door and onto the gate. We were out because Royal Mail had taken a cheap shot at our rep, we were out because we knew Alastair could have sold us out, called off our local strike and protected himself but he chose to put us first. We were out defending our friend and we were out because we knew if Royal Mail were able to sack our rep with no comeback then none of us were safe.”

Workers demanded Andy be reinstated before Christmas, and after stalling as long as possible management caved in on December 23rd.

“The next day the atmosphere in the office was electric. Management were very low profile with their heads down whilst banter, cheering and chanting took place all morning. I will go as far as to say it made our Christmas.”

Steven.
Feb 15 2010 17:54

but this was at Bridgwater, not West Park. Unless I'm missing something?

Joseph Kay
Feb 15 2010 18:14

no, i'm missing something embarrassed

read it too quickly.