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15 August 2014
Peterborough Royal Mail workers stage unofficial walkout
Carl Harper, Peterborough Socialist Party
On Friday 8 August, CWU members working at Royal Mail in the Orton Southgate Delivery Office in Peterborough walked out. Those who participated in the action stated that "ongoing bullying and harassment" of workers led to the unofficial strike.
The business has forced workers nationally to undergo numerous stages of 'modernisation' over a number of years. While in business terms this relentless drive is in the name of 'improved efficiency', in reality it means a chaotic and relentless demand for increased workloads for workers without reward.
As it becomes harder to achieve efficiency savings within the boundaries of national agreements, management bullies and harasses in order to achieve the budgetary savings it desires.
Given the company's privatisation, these disputes are likely to continue and increase in its frequency and severity. The business now has shareholders demanding a return on their investments to satisfy, alongside the funding of pay and bonuses of senior management officials. CEO Moya Greene for instance pocketed £1.35 million last financial year - 50 times more than the average worker!
The workers returned to work with a guarantee from the company - and the union - that their concerns will be "addressed". In practice this means there will be a short-term lull in pressure on the workers which will return with vengeance while the union will undoubtedly look to appease the business's demands for 'improved efficiency'.
'Competition' means of postal companies are 'cherry-picking' the profitable work. Although it is true that this is a threat to Royal Mail who deliver to every address in the UK - with rural locations subsidised by the profitable urban areas - the company is using this as a cover to attack workers.
The overall solution is to take Royal Mail back into public ownership. This way it can deliver a service based on public need not on private greed. Until then workers across the industry need to stand together in defiance.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 15 August 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.
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