The good news of today is that the strikes which have hit Royal Mail over the past few weeks have been suspended! Yay!
The reasons behind the strikes are multifarious but in essence come down to the management trying to force through changes to the organisation which the Union and the staff in general disagree with.
The news sources kept reporting it that pay was involved. It wasn’t. Well no exactly, it’s only mention was that in future pay and benefits should in principle be linked to any efficiency savings made. So we wanted management to just consider us getting something out of all the changes, just consider it, but they’re weren’t willing to even do that.
We accept changes are needed. We accept that job numbers will be cut. What don’t accept is the way the changes were being brought in. After the previous strikes there was an agreement that all changes would be agreed at a local level. However at best all that has happened is “discussions” have taken place, but the result of these discussions had been decided before they took place. And at worst, changes have been brought in by executive action: this is what is going to happen, like or lump it.
From the public’s point of view, Royal Mail is a public service. From the management’s, the government’s point of views it’s a business trying to make a profit. From the regulator’s point of view is an obstacle in the way of the competitors. These three views cannot be easily aligned. Something has to give, and it’s usually the public service element.
Today I worked 2.5hrs overtime just to clear all my workload. I could have said that I couldn’t do the overtime. But then the work wouldn’t have been delivered and it would still be there tomorrow. If we cannot do the work now,m how can we be expected to do it with less staff? And for the record, we are one of the offices that have access to the new all-singing-all-dancing sorting machines. Which don’t save us anywhere near as much time as we were told they would.
But at least for the moment, the strikes have been called to allow more detailed and meaningful talks to take place. It was interesting to hear on the news that Union would this time to negotiate with the management, whilst the management said they would push ahead with their plan of change. So they can’t even agree on what’s going to happen now. Doesn’t look to good does it? Let’s all cross our fingers and hope shall we?
[This post was delayed due to the fact that after getting home from work and eating, I fell asleep before having a chance to publish it!]