Voice: Postal - July/August 2011 - (Page 7)
JULY | AUGUST 2011 VOICE
able to keep to a budget in the history of the party. If you do intend supporting the party that cannot even add up two plus two then I shall have to think about whether I want to be a member of the CWU. If you are too dumb to realise that the debt run up by Gordon Brown has to be paid back then you are too dumb to represent me. Simon J Hirst, Gloucester
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What did they do for us?
What is going off in the CWU? We have just been screwed by the Labour Party for near on 15 years, while they’ve been trying to run the country in a Tory way, with the Tories peeved that new Labour were copying their dirty deeds. And now the so-called head of the CWU is wanting people to join the shower of low-lifes and give them our hard-earned money. It’s not long ago that Labour did not want to know the unions. Did Labour rescind the antiunion laws? No. Did they help the agency workers? No. Did they take us to war on a lie? Yes. Did they help in the murder of over a million Iraqi people? Yes. I think the political levy should be withheld from Labour and spent on trying to get the sick TUC to get off its backside and start to fight for the workers who are paying it to do a job for them. Roland Laycock, Mansfield
would like to comment and raise a few issues in response to Bob Gibson’s article in the last edition of Voice (Delivering agreement May/June). Bob stated that, when the plan to move door-to-door work into normal workload was put forward, "a lot of our members disagreed with this, although clearly the majority agreed with this essential fairness of the change because there was such a strong Yes vote in the national ballot." You got a Yes vote in the national ballot because everyone got the so-called door-to-door payment, but postmen are the only people who deliver them. To be brutally honest, if I did not work in deliveries I would have voted Yes to £20 per week for doing nothing. The better thing would
have been that delivery staff deliver these items and get all the money from all the sets they deliver. If the union had balloted just delivery members, you would have got a resounding No. And finally, prep time for door-to-door. The first week in my office, I and several other staff asked about prep time and were told that management had assessed it and we could do it in our duty time, which was not part of the agreement.
Gary Scales, Hornchurch, Essex
Assistant secretary Bob Gibson replies: It is only people in delivery that get the supplement. No other function gets the payment. Yes you are right the manager telling you that you can do it in your duty time after he or she has assessed it is not part of the agreement and should be taken up locally. As I have stated previously, this was covered off in a letter to branches on two occasions.
with all the attendant costs of staff and infrastructure. Again in 2005, Labour was promising to keep Royal Mail in public hands yet diverting as much work as they could away from post office counters so that mass closures could be implemented under the excuse that "footfall" at post offices had dropped. Now in 2011 the fate of what was the world’s finest service seems to be in the hands of an unelected Liberal whose party’s policies were totally rejected by the electorate at the last general election. I don’t know how many members may have seen the television programme Have I got news for you recently, in which our one-time CWU general secretary Alan Johnson - who threw in his hand with Blair’s lot was hosting the show. Seeing him smugly grinning like a Cheshire cat while making cheap jokes about Royal Mail made me want to throw up - I know of at least one post office colleague who switched off in disgust. No you can keep Labour, apart from my own MP Dennis Skinner and Kate Hoey, I wouldn’t give tuppence for the lot of them. It’s Hobson’s choice these days I am afraid. The only ones I will vote for are those who might get us out of Europe and save the country a fortune. Don Foster, Bolsover, Derbyshire CWU general secretary Billy Hayes replies to Simon, Roland and Don: As usual, politics proves to be a controversial topic in Voice. CWU conference, which is made up of elected delegates from all the union's branches, has supported the link to the Labour Party. But as a union, we have a critical policy, not a fawning one. We want more involvement to change things, not keep them the same. On the cuts, the union does not accept that cutting public services is helping the economy - on the contrary, it is creating further problems. The world recession led to a big drop in economic activity and only investment can revive it. Simon Hirst doesn't agree - as is his right - but the deficit has grown further as a result of the Chancellor's cuts. This is inevitable as reduced public spending leads to higher unemployment, reduced consumer confidence and spending, and lower tax revenues to the Government. That is why the union says: "Investment not cuts." Roland Laycock is angry at the last Labour Government. Certainly there are many just criticisms of the 13 years in government. But there were important achievements too. Is the current government better or worse? And by the way, the TUC has no political fund. Don Foster is rightly concerned about much of the last government's policy
on Royal Mail. The union opposed much of this policy - and we defeated Lord Mandelson's proposal to privatise Royal Mail. This shows that the union is not a slavish supporter of Labour. But this is a debate that always continues.
Dignity and respect for all
I read with interest Louise Scudder’s letter in the last edition of Voice (Great job Robert Pank May/June). It has obviously been a blessed relief that she had help and support from such a kind and caring union rep. However, Royal Mail’s conduct throughout the entire case as she described, the lack of care, and the systematic passing of the buck from one case manager to another, came as little surprise. In the last 12 months in my own unit, I have witnessed a manager physically intimidate a senior member of staff by verbally threatening him and pointing aggressively at point-blank range while standing against a sorting frame. But the postman himself didn’t bother to register a formal Stage One grievance, due to his lack of faith in the grievance procedure. Then, a female member of staff was unlawfully dismissed despite her illnesses - depression and postnatal depression - being clearly covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. I understand that case is now going to an industrial tribunal. Finally, as an Equality Rep, I’m disgusted that, in the 21st century, staff from minority faiths - such as Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, or Jewish - are unable to have their religious holy days off. This is clearly recommended in the CWU’s Equality Proofing booklet, supported by ACAS and is now enshrined in law, under the Equality Act. Given the size of the business, Royal Mail has no excuses - we are not talking about a local dry cleaners with only three members of staff here. Are we working for a company that thinks it can break the law? Reuben Bashir, Larkfield CWU head of equalities Linda Roy replies: The CWU has a zero-tolerance stance towards bullying and harassment, there are policies in place designed to help our members where incidences occur and I strongly urge our reps and members to invoke these. We also have a 24-hour bullying and harassment helpline: 0800 1071909. The law is quite clear on the issue of time off for religious commitments and I believe the majority of our members who make timely requests are sympathetically dealt with. My department has, however, been instrumental in helping members in several areas who have been unreasonably refused time off.
Don’t forget the past
Enclosed with the May/June issue of Voice, I find literature urging me to join the Labour Party to fight the coalition cuts. We seem to have short memories, as I can recall being told in 1997 that it was essential to get a Labour government elected as Labour was "pledged to protect the postal service." Well we know what happened then don’t we? After fighting off Michael Heseltine and Edward Leigh’s privatisation attempt in 1994, we then had Tony Blair and his cronies who, within a year or so, had reduced the monopoly so vital to Royal Mail. They then subsequently set up Postcomm to dish out licences to such cherry pickers as TNT and DHL and the rest so that they could cream off the profitable work and leave Royal Mail in the impossible position of providing the universal service
Why on earth is the CWU supporting the Labour Party?
I’m quite surprised you featured one of the worst politicians in the country in the last edition of Voice (Setting out our agenda May/June). I’m also quite surprised you are peddling the "Investment and Growth versus Slash and Burn" lie yet again. The Labour Government ran a budget deficit every year from 2002, a deficit that grew year on year and, therefore, Government debt grew year on year. The Labour Party spent a couple of trillion pounds the country simply does not have and yet you and they consider the best way out is to max out another credit card. I would like to correct you on a point. The new Government is not making cuts but is cutting the rate of growth in spending. Whether you like it or not, Labour took money from the taxpayer, employed an extra one million useless mouths in the public service - to give the impression of falling unemployment - and wasted two trillion pounds. And you want to return to this? I sincerely hope you are not spending members’ money in trying to support a Labour Party which has always spent more money than the country can afford. Go and check the records – Labour has never been
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Voice: Postal - July/August 2011
Voice: Postal - July/august 2011
General Secretary’s Column
Improving Job Security for All
The Latest Industry News
Child’s Play at Mount Pleasant
Shaping Up to Meet Future Challenges
CWU Salures CUPW-Sttp & TUC Awards
News Updates From the Telecoms Industry
General Strike Now Needed!
Epic Relay for CWUHA
Voice: Postal - July/August 2011