Postal workers staged a 12 hour wildcat strike at the Dandenong letters centre in Melbourne’s south east on Thursday night. The strike has disrupted the delivery of about four million mail items across Victoria.
Several hundred workers walked off the job in protest over the loss of Sunday penalty shifts that took about $160 out of their pay packets.
The secretary of the postal workers union (CWU), Joan Doyle, said that the union had not sanctioned the strike, but could understand workers’ frustration about unexpectedly losing $160 from their pay packets.
“The mail officers got their pay packet and realised management had taken $160 from their pay because … they cancelled their Sunday shift.
“Management has been saying it’s a trial that they’re extending to next year, so we had a lot of talks, but management were just arrogant and said they were going to do it anyway.
“I think once the mail officers saw how much it had cost them they just basically had a bit of spontaneous combustion and walked out the door.” Doyle said.
Union Solidarity was at the picket line to support the workers. Activists report that over 37 trucks were lined up in the street unable to enter the delivery centre. Many more were turned away due to the traffic jam before arriving.
Australia Post management said delivery delays could be expected. Company spokeswoman Nadine Lyford said the strike occurred without warning, and it had first heard about the action from police!
“As a result, both our staff and the mail has unfortunately been impeded from entering the building during what is our peak processing period and this will result in some unavoidable delays” Lyford said.
The strike has meant that posties across the state had no mail to deliver on Friday. This relatively small action has cost Australia Post hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Perhaps Australia Post will now think twice about taking money out of posties pay packets! The Socialist Party wishes the postal workers all the best in their ongoing struggle for decent pay and conditions.