Crown post offices are to go on strike this week against plans to transfer services to WH Smith, while Royal Mail workers begin their third week of rolling strikes.
The Post Office Ltd. wants to shut 85 post offices and shift services over to the much lower-paid workers at WH Smith, as part of its overall plan to close around 1,000 post offices. Post Office Ltd. was criticised this week after news emerged that it had threatened workers with a £1,000 penalty if they discussed any branch mergers or industrial action with the public, handed out leaflets, or went on strike. A few days earlier postmasters were told to lie to customers about branch closures, and threatened with the loss of £65,000 compensation for non-compliance, with the promise of undercover surveillance by "representatives" to check they were toeing the line.
Workers at Crown Post OFfices were due to strike early this week, but the [abbr=Communication Workers Union]CWU[/abbr] delayed them by four days due to talks with employers.
There will be strikes on:
- Friday 10th August from 2:30pm until completion of duties
- Monday 13th August from 2:30pm until completion of duties
- Wednesday 15th August from 3:30pm until completion of duties
Some Mail Centres which due to errors by the CWU were legally prevented from striking with the rest of Royal Mail workers last week will be doubling up on strike action - beginning today then joining the rest of the UK later in the week.
- The International hub (HWDC) will be on official strike from 19.00 on Monday 6th August till 19.00 Tuesday 7th August.
- All Regional Distribution Centres (RDCs) and Network drivers will be on official strike from 12:00 noon, Tuesday 7th August till 12:00 noon on Wednesday 8th August.
- The following Mail Centres will be on official strike from 3am Wednesday 8th August until 3am Thursday 9th August: Gatwick, Reading and Dartford.
- The following Delivery Offices will be on official strike from 3am Wednesday 8th August until 3am Thursday 9th August: Crewe, Portsmouth, Gatwick, Reading, Truro, Swansea and Dartford.
The main rolling strikes begin Thursday:
- Mail Centres and Airports - 7pm Thu 09/08 - 7pm Fri 10/08
- MDECs - 12 noon Fri 10/08- 12 noon Sat 11/08
- Deliveries and Separate Collection Hubs - 7pm Fri 10/08 - 7pm Sat 11/08
- Network and International/HWDC - 7pm Mon 13/08 - 7pm Tue 14/08
- Airports - 12 noon Tues 14/08 - 12 noon Wed 15/08
- Mail Centres - 7pm Wed 15/08 - 7pm Thu 16/08
- MDECs - 12 noon Thu 16/08 - 12 noon Fri 17/08
- Deliveries and Separate Collection Hubs - 7pm Thu 16/08 - 7pm Fri 17/08
At the same time, increasing numbers of postal workers at delivery offices are following the 318 - Royal Mail's own rules and regulations around health and safety and insurance, which many managers encourage staff to break to avoid "cut offs" - returning post at the end of a walk when there's not been enough time to complete the delivery.
For full coverage of the public sector pay strikes see our Pay 2007 feature