‘They are trying to destroy our home life with no discussion. It’s back to the bad old days – at the beck and call of the managers. They think they are gods!’
Striking Romec worker and CWU member Jim Morrison was speaking on the picket line outside Portcullis House in Parliament Square, Westminster yesterday.
The strike by 800 furious Romec workers against the imposition of ‘draconian’ new shift patterns, began at 6am yesterday and continues until 5.59am on Friday.
CWU member Peter Joyce said: ‘I work in Parliament. We are striking against attempts to impose a terrible new framework on us under which your manager can tell you to work any eight hours between 0600-2200, any five days between Monday and Saturday.
‘At the moment our hours in Parliament are 0730-1600 Monday to Friday and any hours outside that are agreed locally with our line manager and subject to nationally agreed overtime rates.
‘About 20 of us work here in Parliament and our employer is Romec, 51% owned by Royal Mail and 49% owned by Haden, which is part of Balfour Beatty. They are trying to tear up the rule book.’
Romec CWU Regional Rep Cyril Onybejekwe told News Line: ‘Romec are trying to impose a draconian attendance pattern. They’re trying to do direct negotiations with individuals, bypassing the union.
‘There are 800 Romec engineers. We’ve balloted with a 98.5% vote in favour of industrial action. Only ten people voted against, but still Romec won’t listen to the union.’
Peter Millbank from Mount Pleasant CWU said: ‘Any sort of proposals they put forward should be negotiated and they’re not doing that.
‘What they are proposing is going to have a very big impact on family life. The result of the ballot shows how serious the feeling is, 98.5%, it’s the best I’ve ever known.’
CWU Deputy General Secretary Dave Ward said in a CWU statement: ‘This is yet another example of a perverse management attitude in the business. Despite talks at ACAS last week, Romec still wish to give managers the ability to compel individuals to attend at unsocial hours and on Saturdays.’
Striking Romec workers also mounted picket lines in Rathbone Place, Central London and Oldham Road, Manchester yesterday.