Royal mail jobs saved at the final hourBy Anna Roberts
February 24, 2009
Around 30 Royal Mail workers were told they did not have jobs just days before they were due to start them, it has been claimed.
Reading representative for the Communication Workers’ Union Wayne Levy contacted the Evening Post to tell us Royal Mail workers had “not so much been left dangling on a string, but had had the string cut”.
He said the workers, all currently based at Caversham Road’s distribution centre which will shut in April, were told jobs they had been offered in Langley, East Berkshire, and were due to start yesterday, had been removed.
Luckily, following negotiations between the union last week with the Royal Mail, the shifts in Langley have been offered back to the workers. But until the good news staff had an anxious wait to know their fate.
Royal Mail has decided to close the Caversham Road site and open a £20 million state-of-the-art mail centre in Swindon by June 2009.
More than 400 jobs were expected to go from Reading to Swindon, while a scaled down distribution centre would remain in the town with around 500 workers.
Mr Levy previously explained in the Evening Post staff could either take voluntary redundancy or stay in the Royal Mail and commute to East Berkshire or Wiltshire.
Many staff are being moved to Swindon but about 30 were promised jobs closer to home in Langley.
Explaining the initial limbo over the Langley jobs, My Levy said: “People who were offered jobs in Langley were told on Friday, February 13, they were no longer available. They were told they were not going to Langley – despite them meant to be starting work there [yesterday].
“It is a lot further to Swindon than Langley and this simply was not fair.”
Earlier this month the Evening Post reported scores of Royal Mail workers in Reading were still unsure about where their jobs stood, despite the planned closure of Caversham Road being announced some time ago.
Jaquie Stenson, Royal Mail spokeswoman, said: “Royal Mail continues to discuss with its people the impact of the changes at Reading Mail Centre, as it has throughout the project.
“We are doing everything possible to match individual’s preferences for the future with the options available.”
‘Change or more jobs will go’
Reading East MP Rob Wilson has brought up the issue of Caversham Road’s sorting office closure in Parliament.
The Conservative MP criticised the Royal Mail for its failings.
Speaking in the House of Commons he said: “Many people have been laid off and hundreds more have been – as they put it – ‘hanging in limbo’. It is clear to see the human impact of the failings of this commercial organisation and if change does not take place, even more jobs will be lost in years to come.”
Meanwhile claims from some Caversham Road postal workers that there is “corruption” in the sorting office have been denied. They suggested the Communication Workers’ Union was letting down long-term staff and favouring some of the newer and younger staff.
“The union are untouchable,” the postal workers complained, suggesting little effort had been made to save their jobs.
But Mr Levy defended his union.
He said he understood why there was discontentment among postal officers, but insisted the union was doing everything it could to support its workers.