Postal workers in London and Scotland are taking strike action today (19 June) and tomorrow in response to cuts by Royal Mail.
London’s workers began their 24-hour strike at 6am today, with picket lines in place at most delivery offices. Some workers in Edinburgh will also be on strike today, with the majority of strikes in Scotland taking place tomorrow.
The Communication and Workers Union (CWU) called for strikes after its members voted 9-1 in favour of industrial action. The union insisted proposed job cuts were “arbitrary”, and claimed Royal Mail was using the recession to cut full-time jobs and replace the positions with part-time workers “because it is cheaper”.
More than two-thirds (65%) of those eligible to vote participated in the strike ballot.
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “We are now seeing cuts, but not modernisation in the postal industry, and there’s only so long before this is going have a major impact on services.
Ward disputed that the CWU was adverse to changing the postal service.
“The CWU does not and has not blocked change. Once again we are seeing Royal Mail working against the union and failing to engage the workforce.”
He added: “We are offering Royal Mail and the government a three month no-strike deal if they fulfil the agreement to engage the CWU over modernisation and move to get the company on a sound footing for the future.”
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “It is disappointing that CWU members in London have felt driven to take industrial action in a dispute over jobs and conditions.
“Royal Mail industrial relations need a real overhaul and I hope they will act on the CWU’s bold and imaginative proposals for three months of intensive talks on the modernisation of the industry and a new industrial relations framework, accompanied by a moratorium on any industrial action during that period.”
He added: “We are only putting in place changes that are already agreed with the CWU as part of the 2007 deal.”