|More than 100,000 postal workers have started voting in a strike ballot at Royal Mail.
The CWU members are angry that since the controversial appointment of new chief executive Rico Back, who collected a £6m ‘golden hello’ when he took over, relations have deteriorated with an increase in bullying in the workplace. The union also says a pledge to raise pay and reform pensions has not been honoured.
Union members are holding gate meetings up and down the country to build support for a ‘Yes’ vote and so far, according to a CWU source, the response is extremely positive. The ballot runs until October 15.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “The current dispute with Royal Mail Group is the fight of our lives. Once again the company is attempting to tell our part-time members this is ‘nothing to do with you’.
“The reality could not be more different. The group under more threat than any other in this dispute are our part-time members. Often, part-time members come under more pressure than management than anyone. Forced to stay out on delivery, coming in to none of their walk being prepped and lack of opportunities for full-time work.
“We cannot and will not allow the current attitudestowards all of our members but particularly part- time members to continue. This has to be the dispute that ends bullying in the workplace.
“You will have seen a key part of our disagreement with the company is their refusal to honour the Four Pillars agreement and implement the next hour off the working week.
“This has two major impacts on our part-time members. Firstly for every hour we get off the full-time working week all part-time staff get an automatic pay rise. Secondly, as we reduce the full- time working week it will give our representatives in many offices the chance to increase contractual hours for part-time staff.
“The USO is up for review and the company will join others in calling for it to be reduced by a day. This may sound attractive with many dreaming of that day being Saturday. The reality is different. Saturday is a key parcel delivery day so the company is far more likely to opt for an unattractive mid-week day.
“More importantly though, if we lose just one day off the USO then 20,000 jobs across the pipeline will be wiped out instantly. This will leave thousands of our newer part-time members facing job insecurity.
“The CWU won the legal protection agreement after the privatisation of the company and this has ensured your jobs and futures have been secured.
“The company has triggered the review and their attempt to separate Parcelforce from the Royal Mail Group so exactly where their intentions are.
“If the legal protections go there is nothing to stop them totally breaking up the company into separate areas. Just take a look at the horrific pay, terms and conditions of some of the other delivery companies out there. We will not allow this to happen to you.
“The union and our industry has been built by the hard work of so many over such a long period. This dispute is about protecting what we have so it can be there for both you and the future generations.
“As a part-time member it is absolutely critical you support the CWU by voting and voting YES. You can keep up to date by speaking to your local rep, attending members meetings, reading the home mailings – which will go out next week – or following us on social media. Thank you for your support.”