PORTSMOUTH’S Royal Mail workers are seeing the ‘sharp end’ of the need for job security, the Communication Workers Union has said.
Its 125,000 members are being balloted on whether they will strike on October 10 over pay, pensions and other issues surrounding privatisation plans.
Last month The News revealed up to 380 jobs at Royal Mail’s Portsmouth processing centre are at risk after the company confirmed it is proposing to close the processing part of its business in the city.
A CWU spokesperson said: ‘Portsmouth postal workers are seeing the sharp end of the need to get better assurances over job security in Royal Mail.
‘The closure is clearly part of moves to make the company look more attractive to private buyers and we fear that more closures and job losses will be seen under privatisation in the pursuit of profits over jobs and services.’
Nationally, talks between CWU and Royal Mail are ongoing, with the company saying it is ‘very disappointed’ with the CWU’s move.
The firm says it is aiming to increase base rate of pay by 8.6 per cent over the next three years. The deal includes a £300 lump sum, which will be lost if a strike takes place.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: ‘While this ground-breaking offer has been rejected by the union, it has acknowledged that it was a ‘significant offer’ and discussions are ongoing.’
He added: ‘A ballot for strike action does not mean there will be a strike; currently it is business as usual for Royal Mail.
‘Royal Mail will do all that we can to protect our business and our customers’ mail. We will work hard to minimise the impact of any industrial action on our customers.’
CWU members working for the Post Office – separate from Royal Mail – are also taking action.
Workers at Crown Post Offices, which include those in Waterlooville, and the Post Office centre in Slindon Street, Portsmouth, will be staging industrial action on Monday, September 9, selling no financial products between 2.30pm and 5.30pm.