Postal workers to vote on strike move

 

An Post is facing industrial unrest as 8,000 members of the Communications Workers' Union conclude a strike ballot this week. Post office clerks are already refusing to handle ESB bills and are threatening not to deal with AIB customers, who should be able to use post offices to lodge and withdraw money from July.

If the strike goes ahead it will be the most serious in a decade. All services, including letters and parcel post, social welfare payments and old age pensions, will be affected. The dispute centres on "pay for change" negotiations for clerical staff. Clerical staff comprise well under 1,000, but all members are being balloted so that supporting action can be taken.

The company says it has offered pay increases worth 9.5 per cent under a partnership agreement. It says employees are also being offered 14.9 per cent of the company under a share option scheme.

However, a CWU national officer, Mr Sean McDonagh, says the increases are only allowances. The first 4 per cent would be payable this year and another 5.5 per cent over the next two years. Although paid weekly, the allowances will not be reckonable for pensions, holiday pay or sick pay. An Post has offered to make them reckonable for pensions only, but at reduced rates.