Monday, February 15, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Somerset postal workers walk out over suspensions Feb 15 2010

100 Royal Mail workers walked out on unofficial strike on 9 February
against the suspension of two colleagues.

This is Somerset reported that More than 100 postal workers in Somerset
staged a wildcat walkout yesterday in a row over the suspension of two
colleagues and threatened cuts.

Employees at the Bridgwater Delivery Office, one of the biggest in the
West, took to the picket line in a bid to force a rethink on the issue by
Royal Mail.

The row centres on allegations facing two members of delivery staff – one
has been accused of intimidation by a colleague and the other is subject
to a customer complaint.

But workers are also fearful of plans to cut 240 hours of work from the
Bridgwater team, leaving many out of pocket or working part-time.

Phil Greenslade, who represents the Communication Workers Union for the
Bridgwater branch, said the workforce was not comfortable with the way the
individuals had been treated. He added that morale over yet more possible
cuts to services was extremely low.

He said: "People are not happy with the way these investigations are being
carried out and we feel Royal Mail is taking a very heavy-handed approach.

"We feel they are trying to get rid of people unnecessarily and however
they can.

"These allegations have not been proven, we do not agree with what they
have been accused of and this could all have been dealt with internally
before the option of suspending the two postmen on full pay was taken."

The protest was over almost as soon as it had begun, with staff returning
to work after an hour-and-a-half, but the union will now seek a ballot for
strike action.

Mr Greenslade said workers were anxious about the branch managers'
business plan which proposes the future cuts.

He said: "We have been through so many rounds of this already and this
will mean work being taken away from people and others going part-time.
They are not filling vacancies at the moment so it means we all have to
work harder for less."

Dave Wilshire, CWU Bristol and District branch secretary, added that the
union had taken the steps to strike because it felt the suspensions marked
a heavy-handed approach to discipline.

He said: "We hope Royal Mail will ensure there is a quick and fair
investigation and make sure the disciplinary process isn't used in a
punitive and excessive manner."

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "Staff at the Royal Mail Bridgwater Delivery
Office took unofficial industrial action for just over an hour this
morning following the suspension of two delivery staff at the site. We are
confident deliveries will be completed although customers will receive
mail later than normal and Royal Mail apologises for any inconvenience

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