Mail Strike Latest

Regularly updated information on the current unofficial postal strike


Unfortunately the Royal Mail haven't responded to our requests for updated information.

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A sealed postbox

London post-code areas worst in the country



Last Update - Monday, November 3, 2003 2:49 PM

After 15 hours of meetings the Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union made a joint statement at 3.30am this morning suggesting that a resolution of the dispute may be at an end.

In a joint statement they said: "We will be talking to our people today and will now go to Acas to resolve all outstanding issues relating to pay and major change. We wish to apologise to customers for the huge inconvenience that has been caused and our first priority is to clear the backlog that has built up and get services back to normal."

As the strike is unofficial there is no guarantee that workers would follow union instructions to return to work but early indications are that workers are returning to work today.

The backlog could take as much as six weeks to clear as the Royal Mail is not making special overtime arrangements. Adam Crozier has said that legal action over the dispute is still being considered.

The Post Office is advising people not to post mail in the London area at the moment. They have suspended Special Delivery services in most London post code areas including W and SW. They are in the process of sealing mail boxes which remain full of uncollected mail. Post office branches are functioning as normal.

The Royal Mail has announced to its business customers that most post-code areas in London are affected. These include all "W" post code areas and most "SW" post code areas including SW14, SW15 and SW18. There are reports that "TW" areas such as Brentford and Richmond are as yet unaffected so it may be worth travelling to there to post an urgent letter which is destined for anywhere but London.

Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton spoke to workers in Greenford last Monday in an attempt get them to go back to work. They confronted him with allegations of bullying and intimidation by managers and complained about pay rates. There have also been counter claims by Royal Mail management that many workers wish to continue working but are afraid to cross picket lines due to a threat of violence. Although we have received a significant amount of comment from Post Office employees on this issue no one has yet suggested any physical intimidation is taking place.

Workers there initially walked out over mail handling arrangements. The dispute spread across the city and wasn't officially backed by the union. Managers tried to move mail to other centres. Acton and Kensington took action when a union representative was suspended. Other sorting offices have been refusing to handle the backlog from strike affected areas.

A postman from the Chiswick area said, "We agreed to go back to work on the terms that we have always worked under but the Royal Mail didn't want to entertain that idea. The terms and agreements and the targets that Royal Mail has set us are not realistic and could never be met."

The Communication Workers Union said up to 20,000 workers in London had joined a series of wildcat strikes at mail centres and offices across the capital. Deputy general secretary of the Communications Workers Union Dave Ward said the disputes resulted from local managers ´┐Żattacking, humiliating and belittling´┐Ż union members who took official strike action two weeks ago in a row over London Weighting allowances. The stoppages follow two official 24-hour strikes in a separate claim over the London Weighting pay allowance.

Postwatch warned of a winter of discontent in the postal service unless the union and Royal Mail regained control of industrial relations.