The CWU have announced that postal workers in London have voted by four to one (79 per cent) in favour of strike action against plans to shut three mail centres and one delivery office in London.
The Royal Mail point out the ballot was only supported by 37% of all operational employees at the affected sites. Nearly two thirds of those employees affected by London changes did not vote to support strike action. The Royal Mail say that there was not a strong mandate for disruptive strike action and called on the union to work instead to support all those affected by the changes.
The changes are to close East and South London mail centres and the decision was made after a nine month consultation with the trade unions. Following the union’s input, East London mail centre is expected to close six months later than originally planned.
Martin Walsh, CWU divisional rep, said: “Royal Mail’s closure plans are a clear threat of compulsory redundancy and this is completely unacceptable. However Gerry O’Rourke, Regional Operations Director, London, points out: “The reality is that almost 700 full time Royal Mail people in London have already expressed an interest in taking a voluntary redundancy package that is worth up to two years’ salary. More than 300 are already being progressed”.
This seems a really strange fight for the CWU to pick. The closures are already agreed and set in stone, there is no possibility of Royal Mail changing their minds, besides which the changes in London are being made wholly in line with the agreement reached with the CWU only last year.
Royal Mail and the CWU both agree that the changes are likely to mean around 580 people leaving Royal Mail on redundancy terms. More Royal Mail workers than that are clamouring to accept voluntary redundancy so what’s the problem?