FIVE thousand Royal Mail workers in north, east and south-east London are striking today, after voting overwhelmingly in ballots to fight ‘executive actions’ by management.
A 24-hour strike by the Communication Workers Union in south-east London began yesterday, with delivery offices in north London also striking from last night and east London out early this morning.
‘There was a ballot in north London and there was an 88 per cent “yes’’ vote for strike action,’ Mark Dolan, CWU North London Area Delivery Rep, told News Line. ‘Our members feel very angry.
‘Even if there was a national agreement tomorrow, we would have many problems in north London.’
He believed that: ‘Royal Mail don’t want a trade union in the workplace – they want to smash our terms and conditions, take the union out of the workplace, in order for them to bring in their “modernisation’’, which is total and utter flexibility of the workforce.’
He added: ‘I hope that we gather all the strength of all the unions that are balloting for action, to coordinate all-out action on one day to defend the public sector.
‘We’re not being attacked now by Royal Mail, we are ultimately being attacked by Brown and the Labour government.’
Vince Micallef, CWU Unit Rep. in E3 (Bow) told News Line: ‘They’ve made it clear their intentions are to change our start times and they’ve actually served notice that from October 8 they will impose the changes on us.
‘The members at the moment are rock solid. They’re fully behind the strike.
‘We’ve made them aware of the attack on pensions as well, that Royal Mail plans to impose on the national union. People are just not willing to put up with that.’
South East London branch secretary, Roy Vargeson, told News Line: ‘The dispute (here) is happening because they have decided to ignore the laid down procedures that we have when the employer believes that people are not working hard enough.’
He maintained: ‘If the postman doesn’t complete his delivery, even if he’s worked his full day, then the employer says: I think you’ve gone slow. The employer will stop your day’s pay.’
Mark Palfrey, CWU London divisional representative, said: ‘Royal Mail are basically imposing working arrangements across the whole London area, which affect people’s pay, overtime and duty structures, as well as the use of casuals, breaking existing agreements.
‘Eventually, it could well be that the whole of London will become involved in the dispute over management’s actions.’
Palfrey added: ‘Royal Mail’s plans for “modernisation’’ are not modernisation, they are the decimation of services to the public and the end of 40,000 jobs.’
• A CWU spokesman said yesterday that the union had received reports of members in Watford being docked a day’s pay.
• The CWU yesterday served notice to Royal Mail of two 48-hour national strikes next week.
130,000 postal workers will strike for 48 hours on shifts beginning 12 noon on Thursday 4th October to 12 noon on Saturday 6th October.
Postal workers will also walk out on shifts starting between 3am on Monday 8th and 3am Wednesday 10th October.