Doncaster postal workers' strike, 24.3.17, photo by A Tice

Doncaster postal workers’ strike, 24.3.17, photo by A Tice   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Doncaster: snap strike by posties pushes bully bosses back

Alistair Tice

“Yesterday we were under their spell, today they’re under ours. We’ve taken the power back”. That’s how James, one of the Doncaster CWU union reps, described the effect of the unofficial walk-out by 300 postal workers from the Doncaster Royal Mail Delivery Centre today.

The unofficial strike (so much for the Tories’ new anti-union laws) was against management bullying which has got even worse recently.

The final straw was when a colleague with 28 years’ service, who is off work sick with stress, was sacked over the phone: “Have you got a pen and paper ready because I’m finishing you and letting you know how much you’ll get under ill health retirement. This is your last day of service”.

240 postal delivery staff walked out this morning and were joined later by up to 70 distribution and collection staff. More than one worker said that they had seen grown men cry as a result of management bullying and this was the third unwarranted dismissal recently.

This bullying management culture is a direct result of privatisation, profit first and piling more and more work onto posties. Over 3,300 shares of just one Facebook post about the strike shows how widespread such bullying is both within Royal Mail and beyond.

Here’s one comment “This is fabulous news. That management team has made my son ill. He’s off work with stress cos of bullying and harassment at that place …”

By early afternoon, Royal Mail’s higher up management had caved. An external investigation will take place into the conduct of certain managers at Doncaster mail centre as well as into workloads and other grievances. At the gate meeting, strikers gave a two weeks ultimatum for Royal Mail to move these managers or else they’ll be back out on strike. And after today, the bosses know that they will strike again.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 24 March 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.