Exeter postal strike update

A wildcat strike involving 300 workers at Exeter Mail Centre continues after talks between bosses and unions failed to end the unofficial dispute.

Submitted by Joseph Kay on September 2, 2006

The initial trigger for the walkout (previously reported by libcom.org here) was the disciplining of a union official for his sickness record in a manner workers said violated normal procedures. Bosses have now offered to reinstate the official’s pay, but since the walkout began they have also imposed new conditions relating to duty rotation and flexibility of shift swapping.

Another development is the use of a secondary picket at Exeter Airport which is reportedly causing delays to post passing through - postal workers have a reputation for refusing to cross picket lines. Management have continued to scab the strike and condemned the workers' tactics as “unlawful”. Phil Chadwick, spokesman for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said "we now need to negotiate to try to get an agreement to return normal work." However the fact any return to work would be under the contentious new conditions is hampering management efforts to end the strike.

Elsewhere in the Post Office, 93 workers from 7 offices across south west Wales will stage a 2-hour official walkout at 12pm on Monday 4th September in protest at the closure of offices in Swansea and Llanelli. In Swansea there will be a picket of the Kingsway Post Office and a protest outside WHSmith, which is due to take over the Post Office franchise but is refusing to take on existing staff on their current terms and conditions.