‘Solidarity & common sense’ wins Bristol SEDO solution


Postman Barry Baker will be welcomed back to work at Bristol South East delivery Office next Tuesday morning and strike action has been averted, after local management agreed not to compulsorily transfer him.

Members at the unit had voted by an 86 per cent majority for industrial action in support of their colleague, who, they felt, had been treated unfairly by the company.

“We’re all delighted that common sense has prevailed and that Barry will now be able to resume normal working,” said Bristol & District Amal Branch secretary Rob Wotherspoon, who praised the “rock-solid support and solidarity” shown by members in the office.

Explaining the background to the dispute, Rob Wotherspoon said: “The management sacked Barry without notice back in October after wrongly accusing him of “a breach of business standards” – but they never explained what this specific standard was or where it was agreed.

“Then he was accused by them of having “acted inappropriately” during a meeting where he was not allowed union representation – another allegation which he and the CWU totally refute.”

The sacking provoked an immediate angry response from Barry’s delivery colleagues, who held a spontaneous gate meeting at the unit and called for an industrial action ballot, a request that was approved by the branch and the CWU industrial executive.

Management agreed last week to re-instate Barry – but they insisted on imposing a disciplinary penalty short of dismissal and to transfer him to another office in a different part of the city.

“While we were pleased to win his re-instatement, the workforce here rejected the idea of Barry being forced out of the office,” said Rob.

But following further representations to the company by the union, and detailed discussions between CWU representatives and local management, it was agreed this morning that the transfer would be withdrawn and that Barry can return to normal duties at SEDO.

Commenting on the positive outcome, CWU deputy general secretary postal Terry Pullinger said that the resolution was “to our members’ credit.”

Criticising the local management, Terry continued: “To create situations where postal workers loyal to each other, like our members in Bristol, have to vote to withdraw their labour to highlight an injustice is to management’s shame.

“Changing the culture in Royal Mail Group is crucial to the future,” he continued, adding: “Bullying and injustice in the workplace must not be tolerated and must be challenged locally, divisionally and nationally by the union.”

As branch secretary, Rob praised the Bristol SEDO membership, saying that they should be “very proud of what they’ve achieved.”
“An injury to one was seen as an injury to all – and this is the meaning of solidarity.”