Edinburgh postmen split over strike

by Andrew Donaldson and Suhayl Afzal

Edinburgh postmen are today divided in their support of the nationwide strike as it reaches its midway point.

The strike is causing major disruption across the city, with fears of further strike action next week.

Almost 80,000 delivery and collection workers have walked out after yesterday’s action by mail-centre staff.

More strikes at Royal Mail are scheduled for next week, starting on Thursday.

Speaking to Edinburgh Napier News, local postman Douglas Hume said: ” While I don’t agree with it myself, there’s a lot of support for the strike.

“The workload for delivery staff in much greater than it was fifteen years ago.

“Working conditions are not great.”

However, Tom Rakowski, another Edinburgh postman said: “In my department the majority of people didn’t want to strike as they feel the same as I do.

“The strike means those of us not taking part in it have a lot more work to do and we feel burdened.”

According to a Royal Mail spokesperson, the UK-wide strikes have delayed about 30 million letters, which is 40% of an average day’s post.

While opinions on the validity of the strike may differ between departments, there are mutual fears on both sides.

On the issue of pay, Mr Hume added: “At the moment it’s not affecting me financially but if the strike continues or escalates then it could do.”

Meanwhile, Mr Rakowski said: “I have to stay off on the strike days or face picket lines and abuse.

“So even though I don’t agree with the strike, it’s causing me to lose out on work and pay.”

Both men also have fears for the future of the company and with it, their jobs.

Mr Rakowski expressed his concern at the possibility that the Royal Mail could eventually be sold off, with the probability that his own job would be one of the first to go.

Mr Hume said:”I’m very concerned about the future of Royal Mail, especially if it was to become privatised.

“I feel this would allow competitors to take slices of the more profitable parts of the business.

“In ten years time, I don’t think Royal Mail will exist in the way it does at the moment.”