London postal strikes in limbo

Submitted by Matthew on 15 June, 2011 - 12:55

Planned strikes by London postal workers are in limbo as of 13 June, with the postal workers’ union CWU still closeted in talks with Royal Mail bosses.

On 23 May the CWU announced that 79% of members voting from workplaces in London facing total or partial closure had backed strikes.

Royal Mail wants to close Twelvetrees Lane mail centre in East London and Nine Elms mail centre in South West London, sharply scale down the big Mount Pleasant centre in Islington, and close the Rathbone Place delivery office just off Oxford Street.

All the closures are due to go through this year. Some work was to be moved from Nine Elms already. That move has been put on hold while the talks proceed.

However, all signs are that the talks are about the details of the closures, rather than the closures themselves. CWU has effectively accepted closures and job cuts, and reduced its demand to one for no compulsory redundancies.

Royal Mail could “meet” that demand, at least in part, by offering workers redeployment to impossibly distant sites.

These closures are so big, however, that some compulsory redundancies seem almost certain. Action to stop them will be necessary; and the quicker the better, rather than letting the members’ determination, expressed in the 79% majority, dissolve into confusion and disillusion.

CWU emphasises that these closures will mean further deterioration of a postal service already strained by previous cuts.

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