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Solidarity with Bridgwater Delivery Office posties

Postal workers at Bridgwater Delivery Office in Somerset are on strike against imposed “summer savings” (workload hikes) and management bullying. Royal Mail are refusing to suspend a senior manager while allegations of stealing a postman’s mail are investigated, something that would see a worker suspended immediately.

This strike is about issues facing workers in every delivery office, and a prelude to the struggle against privatisation – that’s why Royal Mail have dug in their heels and flooded the office with managers to deliver the mail and up the intimidation, while bussing in scabs hidden illegally in the back storage space of vans. The CWU should speed up its moves to a national ballot so that Bridgwater doesn’t fight alone.

Bridgwater DO has a proud record of striking in defence of their rights both officially and unofficially in the past decade. This time the workers have shown their determination by escalating the action, striking for three days in July after two one-day strikes earlier in the month. Solid picket lines have seen over half the workforce take part. But without strike pay, they need solidarity funds to help those in hardship and keep the strike solid. Many branches have donated, and some offices in Leeds have already collected money from the shop floor.

If management doesn’t retreat, workers will have to debate more concrete forms of solidarity – why not ballot all the delivery offices in the area, and use the strike’s profile to call a national meeting to debate how to resist the workload hike across deliveries?

Below we publish the strikers’ appeal:

URGENT APPEAL

Dear Colleagues,

RE: Bridgwater Delivery Office Official Dispute – Financial Support Needed

110 CWU Members out of 120 Postal Workers at Bridgwater Delivery Office are currently under severe attack from Royal Mail. They have taken five days strike action so far, following a 79.3% “Yes” vote.

The main issues are Royal Mail’s un-agreed implementation of a drastic summer savings plan, allegations about bullying and a “Performance Management” regime and refusal to pay monies owed for mail sequencing savings. These issues have involved Royal Mail selectively breaking both Local and National Agreements with the CWU.

Local representatives, officials from the Bristol & District Amalgamated Branch, CWU Divisional Representatives and Bob Gibson National CWU Officer have attempted to come to an acceptable compromise agreement, including substantial summer only savings, only to be rebuffed by the employer.

Meanwhile Bridgwater CWU reps Darren Granter, Dave Chapple, CWU committee members and striking postal workers are allegedly being harassed on a daily basis. There is a feeling that this is to try and provoke wildcat walkouts in order to weaken the official balloted action. Furthermore, CWU members have complained of being watched during their deliveries, during grace breaks, and at gate meetings with officials, and even at a toilet cubicle. They have had overtime denied for spurious reasons and been summarily taken off their delivery. Also some new temporary contracts staff feel they are being placed under severe pressure to attend work on strike days.

Attendances on the Bridgwater picket lines have been excellent and have ranged from 35 up to 70 people; the memberships’ continued solidarity has shocked Royal Mail. Consequently, the CWU and wider trade union movement cannot afford to stand by in the light of the Con-Dem Government’s privatisation attempts and let the strong CWU membership at Bridgwater Delivery Office be starved back to work.

Further strikes are planned to continue the pressure on Royal Mail to negotiate a fair settlement for postal workers. Therefore to assist workers who are involved in this protracted dispute please can you help and ensure that you give all you can to the official “Bridgwater Delivery Office Dispute Fund” this will keep morale to a maximum during the next crucial few weeks.

Please can you make out cheques to “Bridgwater Trades Union Council” and send to –

Dave Chapple CWU

1 Blake Place

Bridgwater

Somerset

TA6 5AU

You can also send messages of support to Dave Chapple at davechapple@btinternet.com or telephone 07776 304276 or to Dave Wilshire Branch Secretary, CWU Bristol & District Amalgamated Branch at davewilshirecwu@btconnect.com or telephone 07909 525740

Finally, we are requesting speakers from the Trade Union Movement and supporters of the Postal Workers to contact Dave Chapple to make arrangements to attend picket lines and for CWU reps to speak at your meetings.

Kevin Beazer Dave Wilshire Chris Webb

South West Regional Secretary Bristol & District branch Secretary Divisional Representative

 

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