24th July 2012
Last Friday, CWU members at Bridgwater Delivery Office walked out in protest at the suspension of a colleague, pending disciplinary action. The wildcat strike ended after 48 hours with an overwhelming vote by CWU members to endorse shop steward Dave Chapple’s recommendation to return on the following terms:
1. The suspended postman would be returned to work immediately with any disciplinary investigations completed within 48 hours.
2. National talks would begin covering all major industrial relations problems at Bridgwater Delivery Office, including CWU concerns of heavy-handed management, breaking agreements with the CWU, un-agreed cuts in hours, and hospital appointments.
Sunday’s talks, involving CWU acting Deputy General Secretary Ray Ellis and national officer Bob Gibson, finally broke through Royal Mail’s previously aggressive stance, and paved the way to get the suspended postman back to work without the threat of recriminations against any CWU members for taking part in the walkout.
Dave Wilshire, Bristol CWU Branch Secretary, said:
“Royal Mail can say what it likes but the fact is they would not talk to us about lifting this suspension until the strike went into it’s second day: that’s a fact.
“However, to be positive, It is good to hear from Dave Chapple at Bridgwater Delivery Office that the return to work today is proceeding smoothly without major problems. This is a major Royal Mail turnaround from last Friday, when it looked like we might be out on strike for a week or more.
“Our suspended CWU member will return to work today with the threat of serious disciplinary action removed: the other issues members were on strike about should now be addressed.
“The tremendous solidarity shown once again by 110 Bridgwater postal workers has, we believe, forced Royal Mail to show some common sense: we hope this approach continues!”
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