The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has accused Royal Mail management of bullying and harassing postal workers as the war of words ahead of next week’s strikes heats up.
In a letter to Royal Mail chief Mark Higson, CWU leader Dave Ward claimed “unagreed HR procedures” were being used in an attempt to bully employees into agreeing to changes to working practices. The CWU said these referred to the firm ignoring pre-determined steps that any employee must go through when being disciplined.
Norman Candy, policy adviser to the deputy general secretary at CWU, argued: “At Royal Mail, the [pre-agreed] procedures are being ignored, so if someone is accused of not working properly, instead of going through the right and agreed procedures, Royal Mail just writes to the individual to tell them they are taking them off pay. No right to appeal and no representation.”
Candy added that this was a tactic by management to coerce staff into accepting any changes that management wanted to enforce. “There is a method behind this. It is to pressurise people into accepting changes that are brought in. It is a form of bullying. People must have a right to put their case forward before they are punished,” he said.
Royal Mail denied the accusation. In its reply to the CWU letter, Higson asked the union to come forward with any examples of bullying or deviation from pre-agreed terms around disciplining staff.
Higson said: “I reject any suggestion that there is widespread bullying and harassment of our people, and we have asked you many times to let us have any examples or evidence that you may have on this important subject so we can thoroughly investigate them through our established process.”
Meanwhile, the BBC has obtained what appears to be a Royal Mail document showing the company is set for a battle with union members. The ‘Strategic Overview’ outlines plans to fight strikes and achieve reform “with or without union engagement”.