Thursday, 4 July 2013

A bitter west-country pre-privatisation dispute

CWU strikers in Bridgwater
118 members of the CWU/Communication Workers Union at the Royal Mail Delivery Office at Bridgwater, Somerset, are on strike for their second Saturday this coming weekend.

The initial causes of the strikes are CWU accusations of managers bullying staff and breaking local and national agreements.

The background is a state of increasing unrest in many West Country Royal Mail workplaces as the ground is prepared for a possible privatisation later this year.

Wildcat strike

Despite Saturday’s second official strike, a gate meeting of postmen and women yesterday, July 3rd, saw furious CWU members reject walking out on an extra day’s wildcat strike by only a slim majority.

Staff are angry that their senior manager has not been suspended pending a serious investigation into evidence of possible interception and theft of a postman’s mail. 

They are also protesting that during last Saturday’s strike staff were bussed into work illegally-packed into the back of a windowless and seat-less transit van, which ensured local CWU reps were unable to exercise their legal right to picket strike-breakers.

Legitimate trade dispute

Dave Chapple, Bridgwater CWU shop steward said:
"Why have Royal Mail not suspended this Bridgwater manager after 3 weeks, when a postman or woman suspected of the same thing would have been suspended in three minutes?”

Dave Wilshire, CWU Bristol and District Branch Secretary said:
"We would not expect Royal Mail to make fundamental mistakes :there is the question of breaking laws against dangerous driving, the 11-hour rule between shifts and the carriage of people in an unauthorised vehicle. This smacks of desperation and a snub towards the CWU offer of further negotiations”. 

Our members continue to picket peacefully as part of a legitimate trade dispute.

David went on to say “Surely at national if not regional level, there is a Royal Mail director with enough common sense to put a stop to this nonsense and realise Royal Mail will not win this dispute by attempting to bypass the strong union organisation at Bridgwater and the wider Bristol CWU Branch?"

Media friends are invited to a picket-line ‘Solidarity Rally’ at 8.15am this Saturday, 25 Friarn St, TA6 5AU
For further information contact Dave Wilshire on 07909 525740 or Dave Chapple on 0777 6304 276

David Wilshire
Branch Secretary
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