Distribution and postal workers in London have gone on strike for three days after the Communication Workers Union said Royal Mail refused its offer of a three month no strike deal.
Delivery workers will be striking today (8th July), distribution and logistics staff will be out on Thursday 9th July, and mail centres will be striking on Friday 10th July, resulting in a 72 hour period of disruption for the network.
Strike action has been taken in response to the company’s “continuing executive action of cuts without modernisation”.
Workers are angered at the lack of machinery, insufficient redesigning of deliveries and little improvement to industrial relations.
The union also claims Royal Mail has abandoned the final phase of the 2007 Pay and Modernisation agreement, meaning more work and pressure is being put on “already stretched” staff.
However, Royal Mail argues that the CWU’s claim to suspend strike action is “misleading nonsense” and nothing more than an attempt to halt the modernisation process.
It added that the government has made it clear that the CWU’s behaviour shows that it is not living up to the agreement its leaders signed and instead has decided to boycott those agreed processes.
Commenting on the dispute, Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “It’s now clear that Royal Mail management is the biggest block to modernisation. When presented with the best deal we, or any other union, can offer, which is for three months of no industrial action and focussed negotiation on modernisation, they refuse.
“Management seem to be sulking because the prospect of privatisation and increased executive pay has disappeared. The chairman Donald Brydon appears to be incapable of focusing on making Royal Mail a success in the public sector.
“He was clearly brought in to oversee a part sell-off and his skills are not suited to the current problems facing the company.
“The problems that Royal Mail face are not going away. The pension deficit in particular needs to be resolved along with the increasingly important outstanding issues of modernisation.
“The government is allowing the same management that was criticised for failure to continue mis-managing the company.”
The union says these problems are being replicated across the country and that it is receiving an increasing number ballot requests for industrial action.
A national strike has been planned for 17th July, which will combine industrial action and demonstrations.
Ward added: “Royal Mail and the government cannot ignore this situation which is growing worse every day. We need to return to the agreement and negotiate change now.”
The Royal Mail, however, said it is keen to discuss how to implement the agreement in London, but the unison “refuses point blank” to do so.