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Jersey Post 'surprised' by staff allegations of bullying

08 Mar 2019, 13:45

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2019 ... -bullying/

JERSEY Post has said it is ‘surprised’ by allegations of bullying and harassment against senior management after postal staff held an impromptu meeting outside the gates of the Rue des Prés office on Thursday morning.

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Members of the Communication Workers Union held a meeting at 6.30am to discuss the issues they are having – including allegations that senior management are using ‘bullying tactics’ to enforce changes to working hours.

Niall McClure, managing director of postal and logistics at the company, said Jersey Post was introducing different working times to reflect changes to how people deliver and receive their post. However, he added that the company has a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to bullying in the workplace and that he was shocked by the allegations made by staff.

During the meeting, Leigh Devine, regional branch secretary for CWU, said that a colleague had been unfairly suspended as ‘unachievable workloads’ were placed on employees.

He said: ‘I am slightly nervous just speaking to you for fear of any persecution that might come my way due to the current climate but we as a committee believe we need to do something.

‘There is a backlog of mail and we believe the company are using fear and bullying tactics to force us to comply.

‘The cut off times is of particular concern.’ He added that staff were at ‘breaking point’ and were ‘ashamed of the company’.

‘Our colleague had unachievable workloads due to changes imposed by the company,’ he said. ‘There is a lack of resource which has led to many lapsed duties which again affects the customers and lead to the company withholding mail and our members punished.’

He also alleged that due to the increased backlog of mail, senior management were withholding mail from being delivered.

Jersey Post is due to meet national representatives from the union next week.

However, Mr McClure said concerns about bullying were not on the agenda until yesterday, and that the allegations were ‘new to me’.

‘We are extremely shocked and disappointed to hear this accusation,’ he said. ‘Jersey Post has a zero-tolerance policy to bullying and harassment in the workplace, be it from a manager, colleague or union representative. If an accusation is made, we are committed to investigating it fully.’

Mr McClure confirmed that a Jersey Post employee was suspended on Wednesday but that this was a ‘neutral act’ to allow an investigation to take place.

He added Jersey Post is ‘evolving our business’ and has made small changes to the working hours of some staff. ‘As Jersey Post moves from being a mail operator that delivers parcels, to a parcel operator that also delivers mail, we are constantly evolving our business to meet the needs of our customers and to be as efficient as possible,’ he said. ‘For instance, we have recently introduced a process that takes 24 hours out of the time taken from a parcel being ordered in the UK to it being delivered to the recipient in Jersey.

‘To introduce these changes, we work hard to bring our employees on the journey, through constant discussion and collaboration.

‘We began speaking to employees about these revised working hours last year, and on 25 February, new working times were introduced.

‘We are not proposing any changes to shift durations nor to pay – only revised start and finish times, which means our parcel operators can be out delivering for longer, getting parcels to Islanders faster. Additionally, these changes have affected less than 10% of our delivery staff.

‘We look forward to these discussions continuing in a positive manner and are sure that together we can reach an agreement on the best way to deliver our services for the benefit of our customers and the Island as a whole.’

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