‘The mood is defiant,’ said striking postal workers in Cambridge yesterday.
This came as the Communication Workers Union branded Royal Mail’s business approach ‘chaos management’.
Thousands of postal workers from Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, London, Middlesbrough and other offices are striking as Royal Mail continues pushing through panic cuts with ‘an aggressive bullying approach’, said the CWU.
Cambridge Postal workers at the Henley Road delivery office staged a 24-hour strike yesterday against the attacks by Royal Mail on their jobs, working conditions and contracts of employment.
A lively picket was held at the entrance to the depot by fifteen workers, who turned out before 5am to ensure that the 6am to 2.30pm shift was closed down.
Pickets who spoke to News line said that after 2.30 there were only two workers due to be in, and one was on holiday.
The pickets allowed members of the public to cross and collect their children’s exam results.
One postman, Steve, said: ‘The management are constantly pressuring us to take more (post) out.
They’re trying to make us work faster – they want us to deliver at 4 miles per hour!
‘At our office they want to take out up to 49 jobs. First it was 10 to 15, now 49.
‘Also, when we started working here we had permanent contracts but any new people are only given temporary contracts.’
Neil, a young postman, said he was involved in the strike because of job losses and the way they were being treated. He said: ‘Different workers are out on different days. For maximum disruption we should all be out together.’
Local CWU Rep, Robert Fox, said: ‘Royal Mail are planning to take 1,866 hours out of this office, which equates to 43 full-time jobs.
‘They intend to do this by making the rounds bigger and making people work quicker. This is purely to slash costs. They’ve been set a target to cut their budget.
‘Everywhere they are doing this; in London, all over.’
He added: ‘The mood is defiant. We are not prepared to accept cuts to our pay and terms of conditions, to our employment.
‘I think there should be a national strike. Our conference policy was for a national ballot and it’s taken three months from conference to get the national ballot.
‘Maybe if we’d had the national ballot earlier we would have got an agreement. I blame the government. They are paving the way for privatisation.’
Steve Butts, CWU Area Delivery Rep, said: ‘At this office they want to save 1,866 hours which means to them over £1 million per year in savings, just from this depot, by making workers work faster.
‘There are 237 full-timers at this office, and they want to reduce this number by 89, replacing 46 of them with part-timers. This would be a net loss of 43 workers.
‘Royal Mail’s tactics are to put a lot of pressure on workers so they’ll want to leave. In other words trying to wear them down, and picking on individual offices one at a time.
‘On the 23rd of September we will have the result of our national ballot for national strike action.’
Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: ‘Postal workers are working harder than ever and in return are facing attacks and harassment under Royal Mail’s chaos approach to management.’
However, he added: ‘We will call off all strike action in return for meaningful negotiations on modernisation, pay and job security. As the recognised union this is the least Royal Mail should do.’