One of the biggest strikes of the year began this morning when workers at Royal Mail, BT and Openreach went on strike over wages and working conditions.
Royal Mail staff stood in the pouring rain outside their sorting office in North Road, Brighton, while BT and Openreach staff picketed at their offices in Withdean Grange, London Road, also in the city.
It was part of a mass strike by more than 165,000 workers across the country, represented by the Communication Workers Union.
Dave Bennett, union branch representative, said: “Our members are really angry, in the current situation people don’t want to go on strike. you lose money
Union members outside the Royal Mail delivery office on North Road (Image: The Argus)
“Today our cleaners, receptionists and engineers came to see us. There is absolute solidarity across the country, I’ve never experienced anything like it.
“When nurses talk about being elected, that’s a statement of what’s happening in this country. Working class people rule the country.
“Our members have worked in close proximity as key workers throughout the pandemic. They have delivered and kept this country connected.
“Members did so knowing they could take it to loved ones with Covid.
“We’ve been told there’s no money left for a raise, absolute poppycock.”
CWU also claims Royal Mail wants to make changes to employee sick pay.
On the picket line. Picture by PA (Image: PA)
One of the protesters in Brighton was Tom Coles-Rogers, who has worked at Royal Mail for five years.
He said: “It’s not just about pay, it’s also about terms and conditions – these changes they want to introduce are trying to deface Royal Mail and make as much profit as possible.
“This job is a public service and I enjoy doing it and don’t mind going out in the rain. When I started, people said to me, “Work hard and you’ll have a job for life here,” but not anymore.”
Royal Mail has already said it plans to lay off 5,000 by March and 10,000 by August next year amid recent industrial action which is causing significant financial losses.
Tom Coles-Rogers, left, and Charlie Jones outside the Brighton Delivery Office during a Communication Workers Union strike action for postal workers, Openreach engineers and call center workers (Image: PA)
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “On Friday 14 October we announced losses of £219m in the first half of the year.
“This shows once again the urgent need for Royal Mail to change. Further strike action would significantly increase our losses for the full year and could necessitate further operational restructuring and job losses.
“Four weeks have passed since we invited the CWU to enter into talks with Acas to resolve the bill of exchange and payment dispute. We call again on the CWU to join us in the Acas talks. This is the only way to find a solution and secure the future of Royal Mail and jobs for our people.
“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience the ongoing CWU strike will cause. We are doing everything we can to minimize delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”
The next CWU strike date is Tuesday 25th October.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23064944.royal-mail-bt-openreach-staff-go-strike-brighton/?ref=rss Royal Mail, BT and Openreach staff are on strike in Brighton