Industrial relations boil over at Royal Mail and Ineos

Royal Mail staff at the Garrison Place depot walked out in a wildcat strike last Friday. Picture: Michael Gillen
Royal Mail staff at the Garrison Place depot walked out in a wildcat strike last Friday. Picture: Michael Gillen

Mediators have been brought in to resolve an industrial dispute between Royal Mail workers and management at a Falkirk depot.

Members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) at the plant in Garrison Place staged an unauthorised wildcat strike last Friday and Saturday after relations between the staff and management broke down.

Staff, who returned to work on Monday, are angry over working conditions and the treatment from management, with one worker telling The Falkirk Herald this week there are ongoing “bullying” issues.

Sources have said that the dispute is “far from over” as mediators were due at the site this week, with several Royal Mail managers seen entering the building yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

Unless a resolution is reached, more strikes could be on the way and the fact that the walkout was unauthorised by union chiefs at CWU shows the “strength of feeling” among workers to carry out such drastic action.

A CWU member on the picket line said: “This is not a national issue, it’s purely local. Members met this morning and agreed to go on strike over the conditions here and our treatment at the hands of the local management.

“This strike today and the turnout shows the strength of feeling the workers have over this issue.

Another postal worker said: “We are pretty devastated this had to take place and we are not being allowed to deliver the mail to our customers, who are the most important thing to us. We just want to be allowed to deliver a decent service.”

The strike affected post in the FK1, FK2 and FK5 delivery areas.

No one from CWU responded to contact from The Falkirk Herald as we went to press, despite several attempts made.

A spokesperson for Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail is fully committed to the process to resolve concerns of postal workers based in the Falkirk office by following the national jointly agreed framework with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).”

Ineos

In a separate dispute at the Ineos chemicals plant in Grangemouth, industrial relations have flared up again over union recognition at the site.

Unite the union was de-recognised by Ineos in July this year at the infrastructure and chemicals plant within the Grangemouth petrochemicals complex, which employs more than 400 workers.

Unite now has the ‘signed up’ support of a considerable majority of the workers there who want the re-instatement of the union and have a legal right for that to take place.

Unite’s assistant general secretary, Howard Beckett, said: “We now have a considerable majority of the workers who have signed up to say they want the union recognised at the site as is their legal right. The company must now negotiate a new deal.”

If Ineos refuses the recognition, Unite says it will raise the dispute with the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) which rules on such matters.

The union say preparations are now being made to make a formal legal application to the CAC. Mr Beckett added: “We hope the company will depart from its current strategies and enter negotiations about re-instating Unite at the chemicals complex.”

Ineos declined to comment saying the situation was “an internal matter”.