Royal Mail strikes set to start in Manchester and Northern IrelandPostal February 21 2019
Delivery offices in Greater Manchester and Northern Ireland will start strike action tomorrow and Saturday respectively, in two disputes over management behaviours.
Both walkouts have been sparked by disciplinary penalties given to members, which the union consider to be unfair and unjustified.
Members at the two units concerned – Wythenshawe and Bangor – returned big ballot majorities for action earlier this month and, despite CWU attempts to resolve the issues by negotiation, resolutions have not yet been reached.
Wythenshawe will strike tomorrow and again on Monday, while Bangor members walk out on Saturday and Monday.
Davy Moffett, Northern Ireland East Branch secretary, reports: “I held a gate meeting at Bangor this morning and the members re-affirmed their determination to fight for justice for their colleagues.”
Bangor postmen Craig Stewart and Jim Magowan were handed two-year suspended dismissals back in September for an alleged “non-completion” of a duty, but they, their workmates and their branch insist that the pair followed the proper procedures and that the disciplinary penalties are unfair.
Despite pursuing an appeal through the internal procedure, the company maintained the penalty against the pair and the branch was left with no alternative but to request a strike ballot last month – which returned a 81% majority in favour.
“Members here are furious at what’s happened to Craig and Jim,” explains Davy “and there will be rock-solid backing for the action in Bangor, as well as strong support right across the branch area.”
The CWU is also angry at rumours of strike-breakers being hired from mainland Britain to cross picket lines and Davy says that “if this is true, then it’s a highly provocative move and it indicates to us that the business is not serious about negotiations.
“Our divisional rep Kenny Logan, has been working tirelessly to help me and the branch to try to resolve this and we’re very appreciative of the support we’ve had,” he continues.
“Even at this late stage, it’s still possible to avoid this action if management see sense – but the clock is ticking.”
Over in greater Manchester, members at Wythenshawe Delivery Office are equally frustrated that their issues have not yet been resolved.
Here again, hard-working postmen and women have been forced into industrial action in response to what unit rep Phil Tickle describes as “two instances of unacceptable use of the conduct code” over recent months.
One member was disciplined for reporting sick with stress, while another faced action for allegedly posting a complaint of management bullying on social media, reports Phil, who says: “We believe that in both of these instances, the actions of the manager here was completely unfair, unjustified and related to circumstances entirely created by the manager and the unacceptable regime imposed here.”
One of these two members was given a suspended dismissal and both were given compulsory transfers – but it is the view of members at the Wythenshawe office that management were completely at fault and that these are the latest in a long line of frankly unacceptable management actions here that go back several years.
Phil reports: “Our branch, area, divisional and national officers have done everything possible to get the company to make the changes we need here at Wythenshawe – but rather than listen seriously and take on board the justified complaints and concerns of members here, Royal Mail top bosses just seem to want to support their local management team.”
- As of Thursday at 12:55pm, both offices were set to start strike action as scheduled. Should solutions be found, we will update as soon as possible. In the meantime, please tweet, fb etc your messages of support and solidarity for our members in Northern Ireland and Greater Manchester.