ROYAL Mail workers are resuming their strike action tonight, furious at leaked Post Office plans to smash up their pensions.
The massive Mail Centres employing thousands of CWU members come out on 24-hour strike at 7pm this evening, other sections come out tomorrow and during the day on Friday, then delivery offices all over the country will come out on 24-hour strike from 7pm on Friday night.
A CWU spokeswoman told News Line yesterday: ‘Rolling action begins on Wednesday for two weeks and we’re expecting a strong turnout again.
‘Royal Mail are continuing with their attacks on jobs without proper consultation and the attacks on pensions will only fire up our members even more.’
A document leaked yesterday revealed that Royal Mail intends to slash pensions and that postal workers will have to work up to an extra five years before they can retire.
It also revealed Royal Mail intends to close the final salary pension scheme to new members from next year.
The 24-page document proposes that the age staff retire with full pensions is raised from 60 to 62 next year and to 65 from 2010.
A 30-year-old with 10 year’s service who would currently expect a pension of £15,260 when he retires will see this halved to £8,764.
CWU Deputy General Secretary Dave Ward said of the pensions leak: ‘This is a savage attack on pay and conditions. Our members aren’t going to roll over and accept this. It will only galvanise support for strike action.’
He continued: ‘It’s a stitch-up. They may say they’re consulting but that’s a charade. It’s clear from the work in producing these plans that they’re determined to drive them through.’
Billy Colvill, CWU Rep SE15, told News Line: ‘The leaked consultation document on Royal Mail’s plans for our pensions, which was revealed in the press this morning, makes it plain that Royal Mail intend to ruin the lives and aspirations of 167,000 postal workers and their families.
‘It is not acceptable. We’re out on strike this week, but I have to say, talking to my colleagues, we’re all very uneasy about the way these strikes have been organised.
‘At the same time, hearing this morning that our colleagues at Oxford have gone back to work at the request of our leadership, leaving a rep facing disciplinary action, makes us query what line our leadership is leading us down.
‘Surely now after two days of action, it is quite plain that the only way to face Royal Mail, Leighton, Crozier and this government is to call for indefinite strike action.’
Richard Kassir, Harrow and Uxbridge CWU Deputy Area Rep, told News Line: ‘The report on pensions has come as a great shock to all who have seen it and will certainly harden the resolve and improve the solidarity of the strike action.
‘I represent a good section of North West London, which has the best turn out of the strikes so far, and this will certainly harden our resolve.
‘Postcom, who have the ability to fine Royal Mail and censure Allan Leighton over his actions, which they did just over a year ago to the tune of £11 million for not achieving the Universal Delivery Standard, has done nothing as a result of the current action.
‘This suggests strongly to me that they endorse it and, since they are a government body, so does the government.’
Phil Hepburn, Vice Chairman Harrow District CWU said: ‘The attack on pensions will be a worry to a lot of people. That’s what most of us work for – a decent pension. You plan for your retirement. It will upset an awful lot of people.
‘It’s sickening, especially when you look at the way Royal Mail Chairman Allan Leighton took home a wage packet this year of £2 million and he’s just been paid a bonus of £370,000.
‘If you’re concerned about Royal Mail losing money and losing contracts you’ll be wondering how on earth he is winning these bonuses.
‘This is a public service but the government seems quite happy to see it driven into the ground.
‘Members are very angry and this news about our pensions will only make them more determined to win.’
Paul Garraway, Oxford CWU Political Officer said: ‘We’re out from tomorrow night. The Mail Centre has only just gone back after a week of unofficial action and now is out again on official action tomorrow.
‘One rep is still suspended on spurious evidence. There is a three week deadline and we are confident he will be returned to work within that time.’