Royal Mail workers describe wave of victimisations and bullying: “Our lives have been devastated”

Postal workers have contacted the World Socialist Web Site to share their views in response to last week’s article, “Royal Mail’s new regime: PDAs used to sack workers for tea break at local pub.”

Six workers remain sacked from Prenton DO in the Wirral. Eleven posties were initially suspended for taking their legally entitled tea breaks at two local pubs. Their treatment is part of a wave of company victimisations, with reports confirming that Royal Mail is deliberately targeting workers to enforce its plans for a parcel-led company along the lines of Amazon.

Prenton Delivery Office entrance

The company’s campaign of bullying and victimisation is a direct outcome of the national agreement co-authored by Communication Workers Union (CWU) officials Dave Ward and Andy Furey with Royal Mail executives in April. Senior workers are being driven out especially, to replace them with new entrants on the inferior pay, terms and conditions agreed by the CWU leadership.

Ward and Furey have abandoned hundreds of union reps and other workers sacked and suspended during a year-long dispute. Their fate has been left in the hands of a company-backed “independent review” headed by Lord Falconer who advised the National Coal Board during the 1984-85 miners’ strike.

A public defence campaign to reinstate the Prenton six must be mounted. Their fate cannot be left in the hands of the Employment Tribunal, a bosses’ court. This must be linked to a political and industrial campaign for the unconditional reinstatement of all 400 workers sacked or suspended during the dispute, in defiance of the CWU-Royal Mail agreement which is a slave charter for major shareholders.

Do you want to share information about Prenton DO, or the reign of workplace bullying and victimisations? Are you a sacked or suspended rep or postal worker? Submit your views or information in the form below. Your anonymity will be protected.

Gloucestershire: I worked in Birkenhead with a lot of these posties. They are good hard-working men. It’s sad that they get this held against them. A cup of tea hurts no one. It would be different if it was alcohol. Royal Mail has gone down so much over the years.

England: My husband was dismissed in June for totally made-up charges by his bosses. He had over 31 years’ service and an unblemished record. Their appeal process is totally flawed as the management blatantly ignore any witnesses other than those that will help secure a dismissal. His case is now at the start of the tribunal process, so he needs to be careful.

The CWU could have been better, but they are severely hampered by Royal Mail practices. Our lives have been devastated and I’m sure it’s because his boss is after readily encouraged brownie points. My husband doesn’t drive, and they are wanting to get rid of letters to make it a parcel business. They made sure it was listed as gross misconduct to cause as much hardship as possible.

Dundee: I was dismissed for going home for my break, something management was fully aware of and something l had done for many years until the new agreement came into force and they began targeting everyone for even a minor infringement.

Herefordshire: PDAs [postal digital assistants] are absolutely being used to track and victimise, from time at the door, to average speed, what and when you are scanning, and whether you are waiting too long for your van partner, as this counts into the figures of idle work.

Also, would be interesting to hear the thoughts of other posties as to the state of the vans they are forced to sign off on every day. Today I was driving a van in which the whole front suspension assembly could be wobbled with a kick when the van was on the ground. Earlier in the week, I drove a van in which the brakes had to be pumped to even consider slowing down. This I feel is more of an issue in rural areas where we receive the hand-me-downs from larger depots, often come smoking in after a dodgy in-house MOT. Is shareholder value being confused with dangerous cost cutting?

Merseyside: Absolutely disgraceful bullying to sack senior postmen and women to replace them with new entrants on lower pay.

Essex: Bullied daily. Made to leave letters and parcels and concentrate on tracked and specials. Manager swears and shouts at you. Moves you around so not talking to friends in office. Horrible toxic place to work.

Hertfordshire: I worked for 26 years but took ill health retirement in May 2023. The culture has worsened over the last 10 years. Managers are normally failed postmen and all they do is bully the staff who do the job properly. Most of them are liars and will make up anything to get rid of people. I experienced that but managed to keep my job. My mental health deteriorated during that period with no support from the business. The workers do a great job but the outside world has no idea the conditions they have to work through.

Dundee: Ex postie, worked in Dundee East. Managers are nothing but bullies. If you were off sick, they used to phone you and harass you to come back to work. Glad I left when I did. Hope all other posties get what you deserve.

Gloucestershire: More people leaving. Good, professional, dedicated Royal Mail employees who have simply had enough. I think a lot of people are suffering almost PTSD after their brutal attacks and the complete lack of respect displayed by Board members. Staff who were previously upbeat are a shadow of their former selves and it is difficult to see.

I personally haven’t been a victim of bullying or harassment, but it absolutely exists. I see staff every day getting put on more because they are compliant. The company doesn’t care who does the work, as long as it gets done. People, including myself, get pulled off jobs midweek and put on jobs that haven’t gone out for 3 or 4 days and then it’s back to your old job where it has stacked up again.

I personally don’t worry about it. I’m not going to work any harder or longer just because there’s more of it as it’s not my fault it’s this way. It just means it takes me longer to catch up and I have received more questions from dissatisfied customers, ‘What is going on with Royal Mail?’ I hear that at least once a day. I don’t bother trying to defend the company, I tell it how it is: corporate greed and mass incompetence has put the company in such a huge hole. Fortunately, 98% of the public know this.

I tell colleagues who look like they are stressed, “Do what you can... this is not your mess. Do it properly, don’t give management any excuse to conduct you. Work your hours, engage with customers, and let the bullshit blow over your head.”

Wolverhampton: I’ve being with Royal Mail for 20 years and we are tracked every minute of the working day.

Leicestershire: The company is now run for the benefit of the major shareholders and management. Bonuses and dividends are handed out, not for providing a quality service, but for making savings. One way to make a saving is to remove someone with long service and a more expensive set of terms and conditions and replace the person with a casual or new contract. This appears to be the chief motivator for our senior management.

Bonus culture corrupted the banks and is doing the same to RM. I heard recently that an employee who whistle blew about fiddling figures to achieve bonuses for management, then was subjected to years of bullying, was awarded £2.3 million. This was reported in the national media but was not talked about much if at all by RM. Not a surprise.

Yorkshire: I worked as a postie up until 6 weeks ago! Leaving after being fed up with unorganised management coming in and bullying us! Asking why I’d stopped at a place with my PDA! And many other problems. One lad has been off with mental health issues, and the manager told him he’d be better off at work as you don’t think about your mental health when you’re working like you do sat at home doing nothing.

No support with older posties who are struggling with injuries caused by the job! I’ve had tennis elbow in both my elbows caused by the job, no help or support, one ended up with surgery as it was so severely damaged from the job!

London: It’s the same all over the country, managers using bullying tactics, but one thing that annoyed me most was during the covid outbreaks most managers hid behind their laptops at home, while most of us were in work.

Wales: I worked for Royal Mail for 15 years and 6 months. I left in 2023. The reason I left after so long was how the business is running to this very day. Management tells their staff to leave streets full of letters and tells us we need to take all the packets out. If you stick up for yourself and tell them your customers have a right to their hospital appointments on the days shown on letters, the managers will look at anything you do to try and bully you out of the business or find something trivial on your PDAs.

I’m fed up of Royal Mail telling their customers that the reason mail is not on time is because of sickness or lack of stress. It’s a total lie. The reason customers ain’t getting their mail is because Royal Mail managers demand we wilfully delay mail, so packets get taken out. Royal Mail is corrupt. Also, I left because of what was happening behind the public’s back. I was never sacked, so I have no reason to lie about anything.

Brighton: It’s the same in every office across the country. I’m in the Brighton DO and morale is at the lowest I’ve ever seen it. We’re told to prioritise packets over letters every single day. We are bullied by managers all of whom are failed posties. Caroline Lucas has contacted our office on many occasions about delay to mail for Brighton residents.

Privatisation has destroyed the best postal service in the world. And Nick Clegg made a killing in shares out of doing it. Even the great privatiser of all time Maggie said she’d never touch Royal Mail. It won’t exist in two or three years if this continues. Thank God I’ve only a few years until I retire.

Wales: Absolutely disgraceful behaviour from management. Our office has seen countless posties on sick leave and just leaving the business, many have served the company a long time. Walks are constantly changed from one day to the next, many being unachievable with mail being brought back every day because of this. Most days mail doesn’t go out at all prioritising parcels instead. Complete shambles from a once great and respected employer, saddens me.

Oldham: I have worked for Royal Mail for almost 20 years. I was honestly very proud to work for the oldest delivery service in the world (500+ years) but the job I once knew and loved is unrecognisable now.

Back before privatisation, if you left a single letter in you were in big trouble, which is how seriously it was taken if you didn’t deliver everyone’s letters. Back then it was a manageable workload, now however, the workload is ridiculous, and more is added pretty much daily. All this and not a care in the world for people’s hospital appointment letters, birthday cards and important legal documents, just left there for days on end. The service has gone from world leading to depressingly poor at best.