London postal workers threaten June strike over job cuts

The postal workers’ union has said that 16,000 Royal Mail staff in London are likely to strike next month in response to efficiency savings being introduced by the organisation.

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) said staff at 159 depots across London, which include delivery offices, sorting offices and distribution hubs, will vote over industrial action over the next two weeks.

The 159 notices of industrial action were served on Gillian Alford, the head of industrial relations at Royal Mail, last night, according to the Enfield Independent.

John Simkins, the CWU representative for London, said: “Royal Mail is cutting full-time jobs and replacing them with part-time workers because it is cheaper.”

Ballot papers are being sent out today and will be returned in about two weeks, when a strike date will then be set.

Mr Simkins said: “We know we will get a yes vote, we are getting some really good feedback. We have just been told we are not going to get a pay rise this year and they have cancelled our bonus scheme, which is just a couple of hundred quid for a postal worker, though the senior management bonus scheme which averages £10,000 per bonus will stay.”

In a letter to the union Royal Mail’s HR director John Millidge said the organisation had been badly affected by the recession. The UK postal market is declining by between 8% and 10% compared to a year ago. It said each percentage point dropped represented a decline of £7m in revenue.

The news comes as the government reiterated its intention this week to pursue part-privatisation for Royal Mail, which could see up to 30% of the organisation sold off to private competitors.

Simon Haben, head of leadership development at Royal Mail, told Personnel Today that threats to part-privatise Royal Mail had made HR’s goals increasingly “hazy” as workers awaited their fate.

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