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Recriminations fly as postal strike spreads Print E-mail
Allan Leighton makes much of his ability to talk staff round in times of trouble, popping down to the shopfloor to discuss tricky issues face-to-face with employees the Royal Mail chairman likes to refer to as colleagues. Spin doctors enthusiastically recount occasions when their boss pulled off the motorway for an unscheduled visit to a sorting office or depot to find out what was troubling his 160,000 workmates.  T he tactic spectacularly failed him this week, however, when he tried to persuade staff to end an unofficial strike in London which, by last night, had spread to Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Essex, Kent, Buckinghamshire and Lanarkshire in Scotland. Mr Leighton unexpectedly turned up at a mass meeting on Monday at the big Greenford mail centre in west London, where postal workers have downed bags since Monday of last week. According to an official of the Communication Workers Union, which has been forced to repudiate the wildcat walkouts to avoid fines and compensation claims, the visit backfired. "Suddenly out of the gloom stepped a leather-clad figure who said, 'Hi, I'm Allan Leighton, what's it all about?'" said the official. "Everyone started telling him how the managers were treating them like dirt so he says, 'Well, why don't we go back to work and talk to them?' "He must be atrociously briefed by his own people if he thinks that trick is going to work. Let's just say that very quickly he was back in his chauffeur-driven car with a few of the lads offering helpful advice." The most serious wave of unofficial strikes to swamp Royal Mail for a decade, trapping tens of millions of letters in unsorted bags, and postboxes sealed in parts of the capital, is the product of a sharp deterioration in industrial relations. Peace talks had to be switched yesterday from Rathbone Place to Old Street after union negotiators refused to cross a picket line at an adjoining sorting office, vividly illustrating the mood of mistrust. The chief executive, Adam Crozier, accused militants of trying to blackmail the corporation into conceding a £4,000 a year London allowance after a narrow vote in September against national industrial action to secure a basic £300 a week. Union activists in turn accused Royal Mail of using the national result to impose sweeping changes on employees and deliberately orchestrating the current confrontation by deploying "bouncers" to intimidate strikers in Dartford, Kent, and Acton, west London. "What we're seeing is a concerted cam paign, orchestrated by union activists, to try to force Royal Mail to increase its London weighting payment over and above the existing offer," Mr Crozier said. "This is unofficial and unlawful. They're cajoling postmen and women in London to strike - and they're threatening to do the same to their colleagues across the UK, who have voted against industrial action. Royal Mail won't be blackmailed." Dave Ward, the CWU deputy general secretary, blamed heavy-handed managers who cracked down when staff returned after a second one-day strike in London staged on Thursday October 16, a stoppage called after a legal ballot. "When our members returned to work Royal Mail decided that they would teach them a lesson," wrote Mr Ward in an open letter released yesterday. "This included changing people's duties, stopping them receiving normal earnings opportunities and making it clear that all local arrangements and practices would soon cease. "In addition managers adopted an aggressive bullying attitude, which placed our members under enormous pressure and stress." The fuse was lit on October 17 with the suspension of 16 delivery drivers in west London's Southall hub after they refused to take special delivery items to destination addresses rather than depots. Royal Mail said the addresses were on routes anyway but the drivers said it was not part of their normal work. = http://www.guardian.co.uk/post/story/0,11489,1073715,00.html
 
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Newsflash

Israel can do no wrong, says God Many of the the worlds leaders have blessed Israel and given it absolution. Although the Pope was not consulted, God was. This was very easy to do since President Bush and Herr Blair have stated on numerous occasions that they are in direct communication with God (and of course you can easily recognise the special Whitehouse phone that the President uses). It is almost superfluous to say that Israel's leaders are much closer to God than they are since he was their god first and he said go smite your enemies and don't hold back, which they don't. They do say sorry for killing innocent people, and drop leaflets first - so that's all right then.  Details...

Terrorism link to bad weather President Bush has blamed the recent spate of Hurricanes on Hamas, Hezbollah and their puppet masters Syria and Iran. [[Syria ]]and [[Iran]] countered that they had scientific proof that the wind produced at both ends by Bush and Blair could have caused the mayhem. The Great Leader responded with incontrovertable but secret evidence created by secret informers based in secret locations that the hurricane that devastated New Orleans was created by Iranian agents. "We can go to war now with a clear conscience," he said.    Details...

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UN representatives severely paralysed when visiting Israel UN paralysis when visiting Israel Friday, October 08, 2004 Undersecretary General for Political Affairs [[Kieran Prendergast]] and UN Middle East official [[Terje Roed Larsen]] were left severely paralysed from the neck up during a recent visit to Israel.   Details...

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This is Keith Richardson's alternative news site. The site aims to promote Truth, Justice, a green clean healthy environment and a wildlife friendly world. It is currently focused on Foreign News and particularly the Middle East.