It’s a case of sorting out what way they want to vote as Craigavon’s postal workers face the almost certainty of privatisation and the prospect of possible strike action.
The two dates are likely to coincide as preparations are made for possible strike action by the union – the Communications Workers Union (CWU) – and the government prepares for private enterprise to take over the massive all-UK undertaking.
Portadown CWU representative Alastair Pinkerton said: “The 150 staff at the Balteagh sorting office – which services Portadown and Lurgan – seem split on the issue.
“The privatisation of this treasured national institution seems a fait accompli. But there are other issues like pay and conditions and pension rights that have to be sorted out, and that’s what the possible strike issue is all about.”
Ballot papers will be circulated soon, and the vote will be known around October-November over whether the strike will go ahead.
“The vast majority at Balteagh wants the Royal Mail to remain in public hands, especially with the healthy profit these days (£40m last year),” said Alastair. “It has to be said, though, that privatisation will be difficult with pending strike action. Prospective shareholders could be frightened away.”
He added that the promise of shares for the workers wasn’t high on most of the staff’s agenda, although all are anxious to retain their jobs in the current economic situation.