Melbourne postal workers in wildcat strike

Postal workers in Melbourne returned to work today after taking unofficial action yesterday (June 12th) against a bonus cut.

Submitted by Ed on June 13, 2008

Mail into and out of Victoria was also be affected by the snap strike by mail workers at the Dandenong letters processing centre, which normally is staffed by up to 1200 people. The workers walked off the job yesterday afternoon over the loss of special Sunday shifts that took about $160 out of their pay packets.

The strike stopped about four million mail items being delivered though parcels and express post mail were unaffected by the strike action.

A picket was held by a group calling itself Union Solidarity outside the Nathan Road centre from about 5.30pm yesterday which helped stop any letters being handled and stopping postal drivers from collecting the mail. But by this afternoon sorting services had returned to normal as the picketers allowed access back onto the site.

Australia Post has attacked the unexpected strike as "irresponsible" and said it occured without warning, first hearing about it themselves from the police.

Communication Workers Union secretary Joan Doyle said it had not sanctioned the strike, but could understand workers’ frustration about unexpectedly losing $160 from their pay packets.

"The mail officers got their pay packet and realised management had taken $160 from their pay because … they cancelled their Sunday shift.

"Management have been saying that’s a trial that they’re extending next year, so we had a lot of talks, but management were just arrogant and said they were going to do it.

"I think once the mail officers saw how much it had cost them they just basically had a bit of spontaneous combustion and walked out the door."

She denied having anything to do with the strike, but said Australia Post had sought orders to stop further industrial action against her union in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

Ms Lyford said while the the action happened at just one processing centre, it had created flow on effects for mail coming to and leaving from Victoria last night.