Hundreds of Royal Mail workers in Northampton could go on strike

Royal Mail at Swan Valley.
Royal Mail at Swan Valley.

Almost 1,000 Royal Mail workers based at a large depot in Swan Valley, Northampton, are being balloted for possible strike action, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has announced.

The union is considering industrial action over a dispute about local job cuts, unsanctioned budget savings targets and poor industrial relations.

The South Midlands Mail Centre (SMMC), located at Swan Valley,is the biggest mail centre in the UK, and serves Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes, Coventry and Warwickshire.

A CWU spokesman said any workers strike would cause “immense disruption” to the general public and the business community.

Gareth Eales, area processing representative for the CWU said: “Industrial relations have been deteriorating in our mail centre for the last six months or so and the hard work and goodwill shown by the union and its members in opening the new mail centre has been traded for the pursuance of single rather than mutual interests.

“The final straw was management refusing to honour local agreements made with the union and their hell bent attitude to turn their backs on the commitments they have made to employee job and standard of living security in the interest of casual employment.”

Mr Eales said workers at the South Midlands Mail Centre have recently been venting their anger and gave their elected representatives a mandate to ballot them for action up to and including strike action.

He said “We have held members meetings in the car park and we have been given a clear mandate that a ballot for industrial action is required, our members are very angry and rightly so.

“The CWU are trying to secure a resolution to this dispute, but unless Royal Mail have a significant change of approach then strike action is inevitable, which is unfortunate for the customer – but absolutely necessary to protect our members terms and conditions, decent employment in the community and future quality of service for our customers.

“This ballot will be a referendum on the current managerial regime and the way they operate, we fully expect our members to send them a clear message...I just hope they listen.”

A Royal Mail spokesman, Nick Martens, said: “We are aware that the Communications Workers Union has said it intends to ballot members for industrial action at South Midlands Mail Centre in Northampton over local working practices, and are meeting senior officials on Monday to discuss their concerns. All mail is being handled normally and services to customers are unaffected.”