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The News Line: News MAIL CENTRES TAKE STRIKE ACTION TODAY Postal workers at five mail centres – Bolton, Coventry, Crewe, Oxford and Stockport – are striking today against plans to close them and to save their jobs.

‘Strikes are going ahead on Friday at Bolton, Stockport and Crewe,’ Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) North West regional secretary Carl Webb told News Line yesterday.

He said: ‘We have had to call off action at Liverpool because of court injunctions obtained by management, but 1,250 postal workers will be out on 24-hour stoppages today over plans to close five major Mail Centres offices across the North West.

Mail Centres in Liverpool and Crewe are set to close with the work redirected through a new centre in Warrington.

Mail Centres in Stockport, Oldham and Bolton are due to close with the operation from the three sites moving into the existing sites in Manchester and Preston.

Webb said: ‘We had a meeting with North West MPs in London last night.

‘We explained to them that we have been forced to take action at this time.

‘When an employer refuses to talk to staff or their representatives, we are left with no choice.

‘It shows how strongly people feel that they are prepared to lose pay and overtime at this time of year and in this economic climate.

‘Royal Mail say this is about modernisation.

‘It’s not, it’s about closing mail centres and a race to the bottom.

‘We are out to save as many jobs as possible and will oppose compulsory redundancies.’

Ian Taylor, CWU Official, said: ‘The decision taken by Royal Mail fails to recognise the real concern members have for their livelihoods, particularly as we enter a nationwide recession.

‘The impact on local economies will be devastating for some of these towns and cities.’

He warned: ‘These changes will see a decline in the Quality of Service we provide to our customers with later deliveries, fewer and earlier collections. Royal Mail’s actions pose a real threat to a large number of jobs.

‘Regrettably, it was not until the CWU were forced to ballot its members that Royal Mail agreed to meet the union nationally, though Royal Mail still refuse to move away from their policy of imposition.

‘In fact the union was left with no alternative as some managers attempted to move the work out of some of the offices listed for closure before Christmas.’

Oxford Mail Centre will also be on strike from 4.30am to 10.30pm today over closure plans.

CWU South Central No1 branch HP section chairman Rob Bolton said: ‘These strikes are the first in the opening battle to defend mail centres.

‘Royal Mail, backed by the Brown government, intend to use so-called modernisation to sack 50,000 postal workers.

‘But we have to have a national ballot for strike action to defend jobs, it’s not just mail centres that are under threat.’


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