Defend the Posties, Defend 6-Day Delivery, Defend 20,000 Jobs

Richie Venton of USDAW & the SSP

By Richie Venton, SSP National Workplace Organiser

Wednesday 29th of April is National Postal Workers Day. This union event is designed to show solidarity with workers who have carried out life-threatening work throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

It’s designed to allow the public to say ‘Thank You’ to the posties for their valiant efforts, but now it must also become a declaration of solidarity against a brutal, full-frontal declaration of war by Royal Mail bosses. 

Literally on the eve of national #PostalWorkersDay, Rico Back and the rest of the millionaire dictators in charge of Royal Mail have unilaterally declared that from the 11th of May, letter delivery will only be Monday to Friday, with parcels and packages delivered on Saturdays.

This is a blatant breach of the longstanding Universal Service Obligation (USO) whereby every household is guaranteed deliveries six days a week.

That’s precisely one of the core issues at the heart of the showdown between postal workers and their privatised bosses, which led to two overwhelming strike ballots, before and since Christmas. 

Royal Mail use Corona crisis to smash jobs and public services!

With the outbreak of the killer virus, CWU trade union leaders suspended plans for strike action, in the hope the bosses would stop their assault whilst posties helped to provide a key service to the beleaguered public.

But instead, the employers have declared war on the union, its members and on the public service they provide. In the midst of the pandemic. That’s stooping down low, even by their standards. 

They entirely bypassed the union in reaching this decision.

Their plan was never mentioned in discussions with the union just days ago. Their announcement is undoubtedly timed as a ruthless act of provocation, cold and calculated, putting the CWU in the position of having to either surrender, or stand up and fight back – and then face a tornado of media vilification.

That’s where other workers and unions need to rally round the posties and make it clear we will not accept abolition of 6-day service, just as we will not accept the loss of 20,000 or more Royal Mail jobs.

Royal Mail have cynically used the coronavirus crisis as a smokescreen for ramming through an assault which the union had resisted on behalf of members and the public for the past two years.

The same bosses have shown absolutely no concern for the health of the workforce. At first they refused to put anybody on furlough. They resisted the demands of the union for full pay for any worker with childcare problems, or where their sick pay had been exhausted, or were self-isolating with symptoms, or looking after other shielded household members.

They arrogantly told workers who faced literally no income to go to a charity.

It was only after massive union pressure and publicity that they made a concession. But it still does not include furlough for posties with childcare issues, nor for the over-65s, nor for anybody who wants to self-isolate because others in their household have the symptoms.

On top of which they’ve refused to back-date any pay, and expect workers who are put on furlough to use at least two weeks of the their annual holidays.

Now they’re trying to con the public by dressing up abolition of 6-day delivery as a measure to “ease the pressure on posties”.

That is a barefaced lie.

Imposing it within 10 days, as they propose, will cause mayhem for shift patterns for drivers, delivery staff and those in sorting offices alike, also threatening pay-cuts in many cases.

It’s a cynical attempt to abolish a longstanding service, get rid of at least 20,000 jobs, and smash the power of the union in the process.

Workers and trade unionists need to stand up with the CWU – stand by your posties.

 I spoke to TAM DEWAR, CWU Divisional Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland: 

“In all this time Royal Mail management have shown no concern nor readiness to act in defense of workers’ safety.

Whereas posties see COVID-19 as a life-threatening virus Rico Back and his cabal see it as a commercial opportunity and a chance to rush through changes to working practices they have been unable to do so far because of union resistance.

Postal workers are not only been fighting COVID-19 but fighting the employer as well.

The only way we got any safety measures was through collective action.

We wanted to protect posties’ safety and lives by each of them working a 3-day week during this crisis, but keeping the 6-day delivery. Of course Royal Mail bosses ruled that out on grounds of cost.

It’s only by taking action as a trade union we won any protection.

The Chief Executive needs to be sacked and replaced by somebody who’s willing to work with the union to defend the future of Royal Mail. 

Otherwise it would be sold off to Amazon or Poundland, because the past two years have been an absolute disaster commercially since Rico Back took over.

We could well now be forced into taking strike action nationally by the actions Royal Mail. 

They have declared all previous agreements are scrapped from now on. 

They have announced there will be no deliveries on Saturdays and claim to have the support of Ofcom and the government.

It’s true that letters have collapsed in number during this crisis, but there are absolute stacks of packets piled up at Mail Centres. 

It’s ten times worse than the Christmas rush, for example with at least ten huge trucks queued up at the Glasgow Mail Centre, full of parcels.

The bosses want to control their budget, refusing overtime, but still demanding the work is done, even though 20% of the workforce are off sick.

They seem hell bent on switching to parcel deliveries which could affect about 27,000 jobs.

If you can’t drive you can’t deliver. And when we got removal of two workers to a delivery van, because of social distancing, Royal Mail did not hire a single van to compensate – even though there must be thousands of hire vans available during the lockdown.

We had strikes in four places in Scotland using health and safety legislation, because people were being forced to work in unsafe conditions to deliver pizza leaflets and leaflets for companies that are shut!

All that after it had been declared an essential service. Our idea of an essential service would be delivery of prescriptions, food and looking out for the vulnerable, not junk mail. If we have to take strike action now, nationally, we will welcome support on the picket lines.” 

36 thoughts on “Defend the Posties, Defend 6-Day Delivery, Defend 20,000 Jobs

  1. Why are postal workers fighting the Covid 19 virus and their employers? Reinstate Saturday deliveries and do not cut postal worker jobs

  2. Thankyou to all the posties, you are doing a fantastic job in very difficult times. Stick to your guns if you have to strike then so be it.

  3. Big thank you to a the amazing posties doing a great job during this difficult time. Working hard 6 days a week and constantly in-an-dated with packets & parcels. It been like Christmas & Cyber week for them for weeks. Alot of them have been working without any ppe. Big thank you to each and everyone of you. You are all doing a great job

  4. If u have to strike then do it. You all do an amazing job.the least they could do was to provide masks.

  5. My daughter is a postie , works hard, has a mortgage at just 21 years of age , she relies on overtime and posties she works with rely on their Hereford week to work extra to support their families. This initiative by Royal Mail is disgusting . How can these people use a pandemic to rob their employees of their rights !!! I am speechless .

  6. Fully support you sounds like a means to save money rather than give staff a rest and once it happens the Saturday services will not resume. If they were truly thinking about the workload of staff they would do what they do what they do at Christmas and get temps in like many supermarkets have…Shame on them!,,

  7. I couldn’t continue my job without the post office, what might not seem essential to you has ensured that I don’t have to furlough my staff,so saving the government money, most of my post is large letters , I need them to be delivered on Saturdays ,they are signed for and often the only day my customers are home.

  8. This is clearly a cynical attempt to introduce a reduced service and cut costs, with resulting hardship to your valued staff, under the guise of the current coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Shame on you.

  9. Excuse to put the boot into you worked, after all you done…its not about helping you ones, it’s to cut costs…

  10. Royal Mail posties are doing a fantastic job. I’m disappointed the focus is on possible job losses, as no where has Royal Mail mentioned job losses? They have been rightly very proud of the job their employees do, and the challenge of getting protective gear is common in all industries but as my Postie said he gets what he needs when he needs it. All this talk of strikes will see Royal Mail to go the way of Woolworths.

  11. You all do an amazing job and I thank you all for what you do I hate junk mail but I look forward to getting other mail and parcels. I don’t blame you if you have to strike that’s wicked to go behind your backs! Take care everyone and stay safe xx

  12. We need to keep the uso agreement and so we are able to keep 20000 jobs for several reasons. One is when when we have walked over 12 miles plus every single day we are all physically drained and two If we lose all these jobs who will cover sick leave , annual leaves etc etc? Its not just one person that goes off sick its several and it’s usually more than one day. They should never of privatised this company it was a happy work place. We all like to work but not to the point where it drains you out. We need to fight to keep this 6 day week

  13. Ricco needs to go. In the middle of a pandemic and he slips in the 5 day letter delivery just like he wanted when he first came to Royal Mail. Before long the whole company will be chopped up and sold to the likes of Amazon.

    No PPE for weeks, still impossible to socially distance within Delivery offices and Mail centres but apparently this is to help posties, but in reality it’s for the shareholders pockets.

  14. Bloody disgrace the way that Rico is treating his staff especially with what’s goin on in the world. Get rid. More money in there pockets. You have to strike folks then do it. Stick to your 6 days.

  15. Just the thin end of the wedge, a stab in the back when no ones looking, our postal service is the envy of the rest of the world, shame on you Royal Mail
    (but not for long, I fear) some things are worth more than the bottom line.

  16. Disgusting treatment of your loyal and hardworking staff. Shame on you for your sly justification of job losses and shift patterns?

  17. Please go on strike and stop them trying to save a lot of money with paying people off etc.U r the fourth emergence service .You do more than just delivering mail.The way they are doing it is very dirty to all of their staff,they should be proud of everyone of their staff!A big thank u for ur service u give to your customers every day and I know we will all be behind u if u go on strike.

  18. We need our postal service now more than ever and they have been the unsung hero’s during this awful time. Don’t put bosses profits above the public to whom you serve, and the workers without whom you wouldn’t have your large profit for top tier management and owners. The low tactic of bring this in during the pandemic is so out of order and you should be ashamed.

  19. We should get mail 6 days a week we pay enough in stamps , people have always had mail 6 days a week and some twice a day !

  20. This is a disgrace, They have no right to do this and by pass unions etc, we are glad of our post men and woman. also if they do this cut back it will never go back to normal.
    Also they should treat there employ’s better. As previous said by others this is another way of saving money and lining there own pockets.

  21. Total disgrace….Postal workers jobs are an extremely important role within the community not only do they deliver letters, parcels etc..they are the friendly face some people only get to see, they are the eyes and ears for other services. If anything get rid of some of the managerial roles to save more money, the postal worker is an essential worker and should be rewarded for their commitment not sacked!

  22. Posties work hard every day all year round. Even more so at the minute with people ordering so much more online. The don’t deserve to be treated like this. It’s time the Rico Back showed some appreciation to his employees who are risking their lives every day to ensure the public receive their mail. Posties have died due to this virus. They deserve recognition. Rico Back should hang his head in shame!!

  23. Absolutely disgusting Royal Mail should be ashamed !!!! These Posties are putting there lives and their families lives at risk every day serving the country. They work in crowded sorting offices with absolutely no PPE !!!!! They should be respected and not treated in this way. Strike if you need to and see what mess that will leave !!!!!!

  24. Absolutely disgusting Royal Mail should be ashamed !!!! The posties are doing an amazing front line job and putting their and their families
    at risk every day !!!! No PPE especially in crowded sorting offices which in itself is appalling !!!!! Perhaps strike action is what is required to make them realise what a mess this would leave them in. In the current climate it is worse than Christmas and is busier than ever but the poor Posties still get on with it. They should definitely be rewarded and not treated in this disgusting way ???

  25. The Posties are doing a fabulous job and this is their thanks.

    I wondered why I was stillbgettubgvrubbushbthrough tgebpostcehen most shops are shut Just now. If this hadn’t been maybe there wouldn’t be such a big backlog in mail centres.

    You’ve just hiked up charges and now you’re shutting down jobs. Done in secret too. Disgusting. Support you workers

  26. Posties have been stabbed in the back at a time of global crisis. Shame on you royal mail for your under hand tactics, I hope they stand up to you and you fall flat on your double crossing faces. Greedy selfish management!!

  27. I agree with all of the messages of support for the wonderful posties. They do a thankless task. As an ex-postman, I’m glad I got out when I did because livelihoods are on the line and, as a 20hr contract postman, mine would’ve been one of them. However this and all messages of support are, unfortunately, going to fall on deaf ears because Rico Back isn’t interested. He’s shown no interest from day one and he’s not likely to now. I feel for the service.

  28. Hang your head in shame Rico Back for trying to back your loyal staff into a corner, and double shame on you for using coronavirus as a cover for your sneaky management strategy. Strike if you need to guys, I hope you will get full public support. Maybe we should all go one step further and boycott Royal mail.

  29. Don’t let them of with it with there big talk and we know best attitude. You as post workers know best. Good luck!

  30. My son is a postie and I think its disgraceful the way they are being treated. Esteem is so low among the postie and they are not getting the notice they deserve. Out in all weathers, delivering all overthe country with no recognition from their fat cat bosses,losing out in all areas,no PPE during this crisis too. They are doing a fantastic job. Come on bosses,pull your finger out,if it wasnt for the postie,you wouldn’t have your fat cat pay,luxurious homes etc. Where’s the justice?

  31. Posties are a lifeline for vulnerable people in normal times they not only deliver post but they notice if someone hasn’t opened the curtains or if that older person hasn’t come to say hello for a few days
    In this covid-19 times they are everyone’s life line and they are important key workers so to cut jobs is a disgraceful act

  32. Royal Mail should never of been sold off .Fat cat shareholders only care about their premiums they don’t give a toss about their workers or the public who rely on them . Most of them don’t even live in this country .We have to support the workers before the bosses completely destroy our postal service ???

  33. UPDATE: the collective power of organised workers has beaten back the Royal Mail bosses – at least for now!
    The CWU union responded with a plan of non-cooperation in the units (workplaces), with furious members making plain they would not agree to changes to shift patterns, longer weekday shifts, and mayhem for their days off. And the CWU leadership publicly declared they would announce dates for strike action on Monday 11th – the day the employers had planned to impose their abolition of 6-day letter delivery.
    Rico Back backed off!!
    At least for now. He and his cronies – who STILL want to decimate this public service for profit – had to beat a hasty, ignominious retreat when faced with the power for the union’s collective strength.
    Another reminder of the potential power of the working class, when organised – which is what we need to apply during and after this Corona crisis. Well done the CWU!

  34. This is unreal why would you do this ! Postal workers putting themselves at risk for pennies every day and now this ?

  35. Please support this service non of us want to loose it.
    After reading this article seems that the bosses have no idea how there work force are or feeling need to look after loyalty and workers.
    They are going out in these extremely hard times with no PPE yet this is how they are treated a big bonus is needed for the workers not management.

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