13 March 2006

We say: Second strike looms


We report today that a second postal strike is a real possibility after a striker was sacked by the Royal Mail on Friday last.

The facts about the sacking remain unclear. But what’s crystal clear is that Royal Mail management have, since the strike ended, embarked on a path of confrontation and humiliation which was bound to lead to more trouble. And as postal workers meet tonight to consider the way forward, trouble is exactly what the Royal Mail has got.

If Royal Mail don’t already know because they are too blind or uncaring to notice, we’re here to tell them that there is immense bad feeling within their workforce, and that is a recipe for disaster. The culture of disrespect that led to the first strike has not been replaced, in fact the workers will tell you that it is worse, with management seemingly hell-bent on exacting revenge for the industrial action, which was ended on terms widely seen as a victory for the strikers.

Workers continue to be routinely harassed and targeted, unlimited overtime is given to workers who remained at work during the strike, while workers who came out are fed titbits on the whim of their superiors. As if that wasn’t bad enough, attempts to get the backlog cleared have been nothing short of disastrous with huge amounts of mail being dumped and lost. That’s hardly surprising when agency workers with virtually no training or experience are being used.

Nobody knows what the outcome of tonight’s meeting is going to be. But even if a second strike does not materialise, another round of industrial action is inevitable for as long as Royal Mail continues with its divide-and-conquer strategy. The company’s most senior people must order the line managers who are provoking confrontation to wind their necks in.

The company’s workers deserve better – and so do its customers.

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