Royal Mail workers from Cwmbran joined in the start of a national 48-hour strike this morning. They met outside the former post office in General Rees Square.
It’s the latest strike in a dispute over pay and conditions. Cwmbran Life met Dave Jefferies, the Communication Workers Union rep for the depot, on the picket line. He has worked for Royal Mail for 33 years. He said: “This is the third strike day. The first two were about pay, this one is over terms and conditions. People’s terms and conditions are being torn apart.
“People that start with the business will be on different terms as well, on worse off terms. We’ve had a number of staff who have left the business sadly because of these terms and conditions changes.
“When they joined the business it was supposedly family-friendly so you had an early start time and a finish time in the afternoon around 2.30pm. This was great for people who had children in school. We had people who joined the business for that reason alone as it fitted in with their lifestyle and they have had to leave as it changed to 9am to 5pm.
“The family-friendly business has gone out the window and they’ve had to look for alternative employment. The business is saying to the public they offered us 5.5% which they haven’t. The 5.5% was with strings attached which were terms and conditions changing.
“Without any discussion from the business in April they implemented a 2% pay rise on us without any discussion whatsoever. So the (other) 3.5% hasn’t appeared because it was attached to terms and conditions being taken away.
“Talks started to prior to April and the union asked for an inflation-based pay rise. At the time in April when discussions were supposed to be concluded, inflation was at 5%. Inflation has risen and risen and risen so they (the union) are still asking for an inflation-based pay rise which if they (Royal Mail) had accepted the 5% in April we wouldn’t be in the position we are here today.
“Strike action for all of us is the last thing that we want to do because they are a great bunch in Cwmbran and they all love coming to work, looking after their customers. Because we are all on fixed-deliveries so we get to know our customers by name. We are a friendly face on the doorstep and this is what Royal Mail as a business wants to take away by ripping it all up.”
He said Royal Mail wants to stop the guaranteed six-day service and reduce deliveries to rural areas.
He said: “I deliver to a rural area and I can be the only face people see some days, sometimes for weeks. They look forward to that. Royal Mail want to pick and choose the days on which you get the delivery and want to base the deliveries around parcels which I understand as it’s a profitable part of the business. We are a letters-based business that delivers parcels.
“This is the strongest number I’ve ever had out on industrial action since I’ve been in the business.”
He has directly quizzed the chief executive of Royal Mail, Simon Thompson, through an app given to staff.
“I’ve had a number of discussions with him myself. I’ve said to him a couple of times, there is one word which always resolves a dispute, whether that’s in work, whether that’s in life and it’s called compromise. If you haven’t got compromise you’re not moving forward or backward. And he’s agreed with me.”
He said that despite agreeing with on “compromise” when it comes to talks with the union “he (Simon Thompson) won’t budge”.
Future strike dates
- Friday 30 September 2022 and Saturday 1 October 2022
- Thursday 13 October 2022
- Thursday 20 October 2022
- Tuesday 25 October 2022
- Monday 28 November 2022
Response from Royal Mail
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “On September 22, Royal Mail invited CWU to enter into talks through Acas to find a resolution to our dispute on change and pay. This evening, rather than responding to our offer of Acas talks, the CWU announced further damaging industrial action, once again taking the path of prolonging disruption over resolution.
“Royal Mail is losing £1 million a day and must change faster in response to changing customer demands. We operate in a competitive market, and our customers have choices.
“Further strikes and resistance to transformation by CWU will only make our financial position worse, and threatens the long-term job security of our postmen and women. The CWU has a responsibility to recognise the reality of the situation Royal Mail faces as a business and engage urgently on the changes required.
“We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause. We are doing all we can to minimise any delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”
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