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POSTAL staff made a serious show of strength to Royal Mail Group (RMG) bosses today as 500 workplace meetings were held in support of a national strike ballot.
Thousands of Communication Workers Union (CWU) members took part in hundreds of meetings outside depot gates in support of the union’s ballot, which is scheduled to begin in late September.
Workers say that RMG is not honouring commitments on increasing pay and reducing weekly working hours from 39 to 35 by 2022, given to avoid strike action last year.
The ballot has piled pressure on RMG chief executive Rico Back, whose brief tenure as the mail giant’s boss has already seen a shareholder revolt over his pay package and the company’s relegation from the FTSE 100.
Speaking at a Brighton gate meeting, CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger attacked Mr Back as “a man whose claim to fame was building up a business across Europe that was based on what European unions are calling “slave labour” types of employment models.
“He’s made himself a millionaire from exploitation. He wants to break the union — he wants to break you.
“But he needs to learn the lesson that other people have tried and have not succeeded — we are the strongest fighting union and we will stand up.
“We have a relationship with the people of this country and we are not going to hand the Royal Mail over to someone like him so he can line his pockets and fill his mouth with gold.”
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Over the next couple of weeks, we’re relying on you to turn out a massive vote, because we’ve got to beat the anti-trade union laws.
“We’ve smashed it before and we’ll do it again.
“They are planning the biggest ever shake-up on jobs and conditions.
“The traffic that sustains our members lives will be taken over — not straight away, but steadily — and handed over to the low-cost employment models that we, as a movement, have been saying we’ve got to do something about.
“This is where everybody’s job is on the line — like what happened to the mining industry.”
A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: “We are committed to open and constructive engagement with the CWU. We all want a successful and sustainable company that provides good-quality jobs, fairness in workloads and continues delivering the universal service.”
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