Royal Mail worker in Northampton speaks out claiming he has been 'ostracized' for crossing strikers' picket line

‘A lot of people don’t speak up for themselves like I do’
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A Royal Mail worker in Northampton has claimed he has been 'ostracized, ignored and belittled' after he crossed a strikers' picket line.

Andrew Kelly, 43, says he has faced backlash after he continued going into work despite many of his Royal Mail colleagues going on strike demanding a pay rise and better terms and conditions.

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Royal Mail workers across the country are to stage a further 19 days of strikes in the next two months, with the majority of action taking place during the peak postal build-up to Christmas.

A Royal Mail sign (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)A Royal Mail sign (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A Royal Mail sign (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Andrew said: "I walked straight through it. Everyone stares at you, people saying things under their breath, not a lot of people have the gall to say it to your face.

"Up until recently I have never had any interaction with the union but since working during the strikes I have experienced being ostracized, ignored and belittled.

"A lot of people don't speak up for themselves like I do, but in general I get a lot of feedback from people saying they are worried about money and aren't interested in strikes."

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The Chronicle & Echo reported on the strikes in August, detailing the action being taken by the Communication Workers Union in protest over changes by Royal Mail and the reasons why.

Explaining why he crossed the picket line, Andrew said 'times are hard' and that Royal Mail has to 'modernise'.

He said: "It's ok for them [CWU] to say, 'don't go to work and lose your money for 19 days' but people can't afford to do that.

"Times are hard, people are struggling and there's genuinely people out there afraid to come to work.

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"I've been nothing but treated fairly by Royal Mail. Things have to change, the company has to modernise. They say they are losing money, I believe they probably are."

Some of Royal Mail's hire vans were recently vandalised with the word 'scab' being graffitied on the back doors, a slang term for someone who crosses a picket line.

Andrew was highly critical of the strike action being taken. He said: "In a cost of living crisis I find it unacceptable for the union bosses to use its members as pawns in a game to protect their six figure salary jobs.

"Expecting people, who by their own definition are on the bread line, to give up their salary to wave a flag for the union seems really hypocritical."

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A CWU spokesman said: “This year, over seven out of 10 British posties have voted for strike action in ballots where the ‘Yes’ vote was a few percentage points from 100%.

“The Northampton Chronicle & Echo denies those workers a voice during an historic cost-of-living crisis, reserving coverage for a tiny, tiny minority who are happy to undermine the brave action taken overwhelmingly by their colleagues.”

Editor’s note: In light of the CWU’s response, the Chronicle & Echo would like to make clear we have reported on recent Royal Mail strike action in the town by speaking to those striking. We will continue to represent both sides of the argument in the interests of balanced reporting.