The Communications Workers Union, the organisation that represents 110,000 posties, is demanding the immediate suspension of unaddressed direct mail and the slashing of daily deliveries of standard mail to three times a week, with only parcels and first class mail being delivered on alternate days.
The CWU has laid out its proposals in a letter, signed by general secretary Dave Ward and his deputy Terry Pullinger.
Among other measures the CWU wants are the introduction of Personal Protective Equipment for all employees, in all workplaces. If this equipment is not available, then that office should be shut down until supplies can be sourced.
It also wants the company to stop acting as a commercial operation and instead operate as a vital national service, in line with the Government giving postal workers key worker status.
The union also wants Royal Mail’s infrastructure to be used to help the country during the crisis, including checking on the elderly and vulnerable, and collecting and delivering food parcels, as well as medical prescriptions and equipment.
The letter concludes: “We believe the emergency service principles should be introduced immediately. We are available to discuss with you any alternative suggestions that protect our members, help minimise the spread of the virus, whilst maximising Royal Mail as an emergency service to help the country.”
Last week, it emerged that posties were livid that bosses wanted them to carry on deliveries as usual, although the CWU had not taken an official line.
At the time, a CWU spokesperson said: “Two weeks ago we announced an overwhelming strike ballot result but said that we weren’t going to call strike action during this period because it would be irresponsible. We said we want postal workers to become an additional emergency service in the UK. We believe this could really help the country in these unprecedented times.
“But there has to be a serious discussion around the prioritisation of mail now: NHS letters, coronavirus testing kits, food parcels, we want them delivered by Royal Mail. What we don’t want to be delivering is ‘here’s the latest shopping offers’ – what the public would call junk mail. The public has to be thinking about needs and wants. Some people are just clearly at home bored buying all sorts of rubbish.”
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