Article from the June 2005 issue of the Socialist
newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI
Postal workers take action
THREE HUNDRED postal workers based in the Tomb Street office in Belfast walked out on unofficial strike on 7 June. The dispute began when management tried to get workers who deliver to Belfast city centre to do extra sorting duties that are normally done by the nightshift.
When the workers refused they were suspended. As soon as the news of the suspensions spread, the rest of the workers who deliver to other parts of the city walked out in support.
One of the suspended workers told The Socialist: "The problem is that management have cut the nightshift from 36 duties to 21. It is impossible for the ones who are left to get the work done, especially with the summer coming and people taking leave. They tried to shift the work to us but it is not part of our duties which are heavy enough as it is. This is a dictatorial management who then suspended us because we would not carry out their dictat."
The dispute follows other attacks by the management on the terms and conditions of postal workers and on their union, the CWU. One of the senior union reps is currently on suspension on a charge of "intimidating" another member of staff. The management are clearly trying to lean on the workforce and the union to cut back on conditions.
If the solidarity and determination shown on 7 June is maintained their attacks can be resisted.