The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has been in ‘intermittent’ talks with Royal Mail for weeks, CWU London Regional Secretary John Denton confirmed to News Line yesterday.
He said the latest talks ‘began last week’.
Denton explained: ‘Up to now Royal Mail had been saying they are going to do as they like.
‘But now they have recognised they have to keep to the 2007 Pay and Modernisation national agreement that was brokered by (TUC general secretary) Brendan Barber.
‘(CWU deputy general secretary) Dave Ward has pointed out there is a clause four which says there have to be negotiations on modernisation and new technology.
‘One of the problems is they want to change the walk sequences to deliver mail later.
‘They want to save money by not having to pay shift premiums for starting early or preparing work at night.
‘We’re opposed to the cutting of jobs and earnings that this would mean.’
Asked what would happen to the national strike ballot if the CWU leaders reached an agreement, Denton said: ‘Well you can’t have a ballot and an agreement, as there wouldn’t be a trade dispute.’
Asked does that mean the national ballot is being called off, he said: ‘No, they want to keep the ballot to put pressure on for an agreement. It’s still going ahead.’
Steve Carpenter, CWU rep at Wimbledon Delivery Office, spoke to News Line on Wednesday as the Tooting and Wimbledon offices took strike action over Royal Mail’s attacks on jobs and working conditions.
Carpenter said: ‘It’s still continuing, intimidating and bullying staff and continuing to bring people to drive against their choice.
‘They use bully-boy tactics, including keeping them off pay if they refuse to drive.’
He added: ‘We’re the guinea pigs here, because they’ve taken more jobs from here than anywhere in south London.
‘They’ve got rid of 40 jobs here. We’ve had to absorb that work.
‘Whereas on a 10-hour day I was going up to my time, now I’m expected to do twice as much work in eight hours. It’s impossible.’
Carpenter said: ‘We’re going to continue the industrial action and our first priority is to keep full-time jobs with good terms and conditions for the people who remain, most importantly recognising the workforce and trade union.’
• Yesterday afternoon the CWU said it had on Wednesday ‘served notice to Royal Mail for a national ballot of postal workers for strike action’.
It added: ‘Ballot papers will be posted to all 130,000 postal workers next week on the following timetable – ballot opens: 17th September, ballot closes: 8th October.
‘Strike action requires a seven day notice period after receiving the ballot result. CWU continues to pursue talks with Royal Mail in an attempt to avert the need for further strike action.’