Postal workers set to strike in Britain
October 7, 2007
RAF MILDENHALL, England — Don’t expect any mail from your friendly neighborhood British postman for much of this week.
A second 48-hour strike by postal workers over pay, pensions, job cuts and other issues will begin at 3 a.m. Monday, following a similar strike that began last Thursday. According to local media reports, businesses are being warned that there will be no deliveries until Thursday, even though the strike is set to end Tuesday.
Due to the backlog that will be created, priority will be given to international and special deliveries once the workers are back on the job, according to Les Pope, owner and operator of the Royal Mail substation at RAF Lakenheath.
Pope is an independent owner and operator of the post, and isn’t involved in the strike. But the people who bring him mail and take it away won’t be around for much of the week, he said.
“It’s going to cause a major impact,” he said.
For those concerned about the timely mailing or delivery of their road tax documentation, RAF Lakenheath officials are planning to make a run to the British Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency on Monday to drop off paperwork and pick up any registration packages that are ready to go, according to Lakenheath spokeswoman Airman 1st Class Torri Ingalsbe.
But any paperwork already in the Royal Mail system won’t be accessible, she said.
“We’re affected the same as the British population,” Ingalsbe said.
Those in the process of getting their car tax sorted can use their temporary passes until Oct. 14, she said. After that, they’ll have to park their vehicle until the necessary documentation arrives as required under British law.
The Communications Workers Union and the Royal Mail Group have been in talks regarding the issues, but so far to no avail, Bloomberg.com reported last week.
The strike involves 130,000 postal workers across the U.K., according to the report. Their union is objecting to the Royal Mail’s pay offer and upgrade plans, which the union says will put 40,000 jobs at risk.
The strike action is “clearly designed to damage the company,” Royal Mail said in a statement cited by Bloomberg. Royal Mail also claims the strike is hindering its attempts to modernize and become more efficient, key components to its survival.
Pope said he isn’t sure if more strikes will follow.
“I would hope not,” he said Friday. “It’s most disruptive to everybody.”