Postal workers stage walkout
By Emily Walker
From the Swindon Advertiser
MORE than 500 Swindon postal workers staged an impromptu walkout after two of their colleagues were moved to different parts of the company.
About 150 staff arriving for work at the Hawksworth sorting office refused to work for two hours this morning.
Two workers, who had been involved in previous strikes, said they were told to move to other offices because there had been complaints against them.
Workers at the Dorcan sorting and delivery offices also downed tools in sympathy with their colleagues.
Communication Workers’ Union representative for the Hawksworth office Chris Rye said: “They said there had been complaints against a few people so they were moving them to other offices.
“They were personally pointing out people who had been on strike.
“When we have been on strike we have always been pleasant and played by the rules, but they are using this to make personal attacks. This wasn’t a union-led walkout though. It was led by the workers. There wasn’t even a union rep there at the time. The workers felt so aggrieved by what was going on that they walked out.
“The union managed to get them back to work.”
Mr Rye managed to broker a deal with bosses at the Hawksworth delivery office, and get staff back to work after less than two hours.
Bosses agreed that other workers involved in the complaint would also move to other offices along with the two who actively participated in last month’s strikes.
He said the tensions running high at the mail centres yesterday were typical of their daily working environment at the moment.
“Royal Mail have tried to put this latest walkout down to us, but they started it,” said Mr Rye. “There are 200 bags of mail that haven’t gone out today.
“On Saturday there were 225 special deliveries that didn’t go out. We were willing to take them but they wouldn’t pay the overtime for us to do it.
“They have changed the times of our starts and finishes.
“We don’t think the public and businesses want to have their post delivered later and it will take longer to get through the rush hour traffic.
“People already call us snail mail, if it doesn’t go out until one or two hours later we think it will be even worse for the business.”
CWU members at the Dorcan mail centre are due to hold further strikes on Thursday evening and Friday and Swindon’s delivery office staff will go on strike on Saturday.
No one from Royal Mail would comment on today’s walkout.
Speaking about the strikes later this week a Royal Mail spokesman said: “Royal Mail deplores the move by the union, in spite of talks, to attempt to cause further disruption to customers’ mail. As the CWU is responsible for calling the strikes, they are clearly free to stop this damaging action at any time. Royal Mail urges them to do so, in the interests of our customers, our people and the future of the business.”