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The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has announced that postal workers on the Isle of Man will hold a three-day strike over plans to change employment conditions.
The strike, which is scheduled to take place on February 14-16, follows a two-day strike in December over the Isle of Man Post Office (IoMPO) plans which include reducing new starters’ pensions.
According to the CWU, it has received no reply to its submission on January 4 of a “pragmatic program for the future of the Isle of Man Post Office” and IoMPO instead “decided to attempt to consult with our members on an individual basis” rather than “in line with the process that had been agreed with the assistance of the Isle of Man Industrial Relations Officer”.
Commenting on the strike announcement, Terry Pullinger, CWU deputy general secretary (Postal), said, “Our members clearly see management’s approach as an underhand and deliberate attempt to undermine the collective bargaining process. This has caused further and unnecessary stress to the members of the Union and has hardened their collective determination.
“We have received excellent support from the public and we genuinely hope they understand that our action is a legitimate protest to the ridiculous nature of these negotiations. We hope that they can see that the involvement of management, board members and government officials shows that there are far too many fingers in the pie, making it almost impossible to make progress in these discussions.
“These talks feel increasingly as though the government is seeking to achieve precedence that could apply more widely to the rest of the public sector rather than developing an agreed vision for the Isle of Man Post Office in the best interest of loyal post workers, postal services in general and the commercial and social fabric of the Isle of Man.”
In a statement on its website, IoMPO said, “We are extremely disappointed that the CWU has announced to stage further strike action on February 14-16, 2019, inclusive, causing further disruption to our valued customers.
“For some time, IoMPO has been in negotiations with the employee trade unions on a number of pay and pension reforms. We hoped our latest revised proposal sent to the CWU earlier this week would have allowed progress to be made to resolve the current dispute so we can all move forward.
“Unfortunately, we have not had a response from the CWU other than today’s notice that its members are to stage a three-day walk out. This action does not help to make progress, it merely delays it.”
According to an IoMPO spokesman, mail volumes have halved in the past 10 years and the use of postal services is falling at an average of 7% a year. This has led to the IoMPO making a loss for the first time in its history in the 2017-2018 financial year.
The post office has published an open letter on its website outlining the changes it needs to implement in the next five years to avoid making a loss of £4.5m (US$5.8m). Read the letter here.