Portsmouth postmen return to work after walkoutover dismissal of colleague

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AROUND 150 postmen who stormed out after a colleague was sacked over a disagreement with a manager returned to work today.

Royal Mail bosses have agreed to their demand for a review over managerial practices, beginning from next Tuesday.

The resolution means delivery staff who walked out of work at Royal Mail’s office in Slindon Street, Portsmouth, at 7am this morning are to finish the last two hours of their shift up to 2.30pm.

Bosses have declared they will ‘draw a line’ under the strike, which was not authorised by the union, and no action will be taken against any of the 120 out of the 150-strong workforce that chose to leave.

A limited number of mail deliveries will now be carried out but the majority of residents living south of Hilsea will not get any post today.

Everyone who went on strike had their pay resumed from 12.30pm.

Workers gathered outside the Royal Mail site in Slindon Street this morning demanding a review be carried out into managerial practices following the incident yesterday.

No post was being delivered to everywhere south of Hilsea, but everywhere else is unaffected. It’s unknown whether special delivery packages are being sent.

It was understood the worker in question was asked to carry out more duties after he had finished his shift. He refused, and allegedly threatened a manager which is why he was dismissed.

Postmen outraged by the incident, which they saw was not witnessed by anyone else, stood outside from 7am this morning until midday.

They said they wanted managers to agree to a review so they can then get on with their day of work.

Earlier this morning, managers wheeled out workers’ belongings and told them they were not welcome for the rest of the morning given the strike action was not formally balloted by the Communication Workers Union, which represents postal workers.

Postman and father of three, Michael Nawrot, 48, of Southsea, said: ‘ I am very sad. We have asked for a review for the way things have been done and they are refusing to give it to us, when we want to be at work.

‘We are not being lazy. We would have been out delivering mail at 7.05am if they had agreed to it.’

Union reps are desperately trying to thrash out a deal with bosses to ensure there’s a speedy resolution.

Workers warned if no mail ends up getting delivered today then there will be a backlog of parcels and letters having to be dealt with tomorrow.

But they haven’t ruled out another morning of strike action to highlight something needs to be done.

The News understands the postman who was sacked had been with Royal Mail for 15 years.

Royal Mail said in a statement said: ‘Royal Mail is disappointed at the unballoted action which took place this morning at Portsmouth Delivery Office in Slindon Street, which delivers to the PO1 – PO5 postcode areas. We apologise to customers for the disruption to their mail services and we are doing all we can to minimise this disruption.

‘Royal Mail is fully committed to the process of trying to resolve concerns of postal workers based in Portsmouth by following the national jointly agreed framework with the Communication Workers Union.’

In a later statement, Royal Mail said: ‘A Royal Mail spokesperson said: ‘We are pleased that colleagues have returned to work at Portsmouth Delivery Office in Slindon Street, following an unballoted walkout this morning. We apologise to customers for the disruption to delivery services and we will focus on ensuring there is minimal impact to the service. Collections will be carried out as normal this afternoon.’