Bolton – postal workers to strike over centre closure

This is from the Bolton News. There is a ballot on it asking if people support the strike, which currently shows 82% in favour.

POSTAL workers are to stage a 24-hour strike on one of the busiest mail days of the year.

Up to 400 workers at the Bolton Mail Centre in Farnworth will walk out on December 19 in protest over plans to close it.

The Stonehill Road depot is due to shut in 2010 as part of a Royal Mail cost-cutting exercise.

Members of the Communication Workers’ Union say there has been a lack of negotiation between staff and Royal Mail management over the closure and other changes.

In a ballot, union members at the depot voted 77 per cent in favour of the strike. Other Royal Mail centres at Stockport, Crewe and Liverpool will be shut on the same day because of industrial action.

There will be no postal deliveries in the Farnworth and Kearsley areas on December 19 — the last day for posting first-class mail in time for Christmas. But deliveries elsewhere in Bolton will not be affected as staff at the Calvin Street and Middlebrook delivery offices will work as normal.

Mick Hargraves, Bolton and Bury branch secretary of the CWU, said: “At this time of year it’s not something we wanted to do. It has been a bad year for a lot of people, unfortunately, and the support we have received at the Bolton office from the public and businesses has been tremendous.”

Mr Hargraves said that last year, Royal Mail management and the unions had agreed to joint decision making over major changes to the business, but he said this had not happened.

He added that there were fears at the Bolton depot that in January the sorting of all second-class mail would be moved to other depots.

Mr Hargreaves said: “It would wipe out a full shift of up to 60 workers. There have been no joint negotiations.”

He said workers believed, despite statements from the Royal Mail saying they would try and find alternative employment for the Farnworth staff, that there would not be enough jobs to go around.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Mail said yesterday that they had not then been officially informed of the strike action.

He said: “We would urge all our people to continue delivering the festive postbag and give our customers the service they want and expect.”

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