Wildcat solidarity strike over suspended post striker

Postal workers in Staffordshire are on strike for a third day in a dispute over the suspension of a colleague.

Submitted by Steven. on January 2, 2007

Postal workers in Staffordshire are on strike for a third day in a dispute over the suspension of a colleague.

The BBC reported that staff in Burslem walked out on Friday and Saturday after a colleague was suspended for alleged "aggressive behaviour" towards a female worker.

The female staff member was brought in to help with a backlog of Christmas post due to another walk out over changes in work patterns.

No deliveries will be made on Tuesday in Burslem, the ST6 postcode area.

Talks are under way to resolve the latest dispute.

In a statement Royal Mail said special deliveries were not affected and managers would be making collections in the area.

"Royal Mail would like to apologise to our customers in Burslem for the disruption to services and assure them we are doing everything possible to resolve the situation.

"This unofficial and unlawful strike is not the way to resolve any dispute."

Last month, 800 workers in 11 delivery offices in Staffordshire went on strike for a second time over disagreements in changing posts from full-time to part-time when they become vacant.

The Communications Workers' Union said elsewhere in the UK staff were only downgraded after agreement between Royal Mail and unions but roles were being changed in Staffordshire without any agreement over the numbers of full-time staff required.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said this dispute was ongoing.

Socialist Worker reported on 16 December 2006 on the earlier strike that hundreds of postal workers in the Stoke area struck last Saturday in a dispute about full time posts being turned to part time.

More than 900 workers were involved in the official action which affected services at 11 delivery offices – Biddulph, Burslem, Cheadle, Kidsgrove, Leek, Longton, Stoke, Stafford, Stockton Brook, Uttoxeter and Werrington.

Malcolm Brundrett, the CWU union area representative, said, “Royal Mail is planning to reduce vacancies to part time to make efficiency savings.

“This is a local situation, but it’s part of Royal Mail’s national policy. Although there are no exact figures about the number of vacancies affected we are striking as we believe they have not consulted with the unions fully, as they are obliged to do.

“They want to make the changes, then talk about them later. We can’t rule out further strikes if nothing changes.”

Action is planned in other areas. Strikes were planned before Christmas at Greenford (west London) and Nottingham, and ballots at many others. The CWU union is under pressure to discuss national action against Royal Mail’s attacks.

One issue is the effect of the implementation of the working time directive on drivers’ earnings.

Quite rightly the union is demanding a substantial increase in basic pay to make up for the loss of earnings from restricted hours.

If management do not come up with a decent rise, they could face a national strike.

Update - 4 March 2007

:> Six days of strikes set for Staffordshire post over the suspension