Why postal workers are defending their right to strike – Royal Mail (er…I mean Roy Mayall’s) diary

November 2, 2009

Royal Mail – er.. I mean Roy Mayall – (a pseudonym) has been a delivery postal worker for five years. He(she?) writes for the London Review Blog – revealing some of the realities behind current working conditions and politics (and why they need strong trade union protection in the workplace). Here is some of what Roy has to say about Peter Mandelson’s comment on TV in May: ‘Figures are down’:

It’s the joke at the delivery office. ‘Figures are down’, we say, and laugh as we pile the fifth or sixth bag of mail onto the scales and write down the weight in the log-book. It’s our daily exercise in fiction writing…we hear that sentence almost every day at work when management are trying to implement some new initiative which involves postal workers like me working longer hours for no extra pay, carrying more weight, having more duties

Fellow postal worker Pat Stamp comments on the blog:

“Like Roy Mayall…I am a postman and concerned at the absence in the media of any account of how mail delivery is organised and what Royal Mail’s modernisation programme entails. The programme was introduced because the popularity of email and texting has caused a drop in mail volume. Royal Mail’s first step was to reduce the number of ‘walks’. It did this by cutting some walks in each area and making the remaining walks longer. A postman who normally delivered mail to six streets, say, now found himself delivering to eight or nine. During the summer months, when mail volumes were low, he could perhaps, just cope with this. But as autumn begins and the Christmas catalogues start to come out, every week and sometimes every day can be heavy. In the run-up to last Christmas, there were postman who only finished their walks at 7 or 8.p.m., sometimes two or three times a week. In one depot alone, around 15 postman phonen in sick. This Christmas, with the even longer walks, it could be worse. Royal Mail is a strong promoter of general health and safety, but as the walks lengthen and the loads increase, many of us feel that our own health and safety isn’t being taken into consideration…”

To find out more about day-to-day working conditions of delivery staff read Roy’s blog – see this London Review: Roy Mayall’s diary:

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