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Royal Mail protestors in Whitstable say fight is not over

By Whitstable Times  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

By Emma Cooney

PROTEST:  Cliff Bartholomew, Ritch Harnett, Chris Stone and Terry Jeffs after the Communications Workers Union Vote

PROTEST: Cliff Bartholomew, Ritch Harnett, Chris Stone and Terry Jeffs after the Communications Workers Union Vote

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THE fight to save Whitstable delivery office continues despite Royal Mail's resolve to move it to Canterbury.

Campaigners are planning a series of stunts, including a second mass convoy today (Saturday), a junk mail ban and a possible county-wide strike if the company refuses to change its mind.

Royal Mail's delivery director for Kent, Ray Tompsett, has reiterated previous statements reassuring customers about the move:

He said: "We are keen to minimise the impact of the move on people who live in and around Whitstable. No-one will need to travel to Canterbury to collect parcels if they do not wish to.

"Moving our Whitstable office to Canterbury will have minimal impact on traffic and help Royal Mail reduce our carbon footprint."

Royal Mail is waiting for the outcome of a joint review on its plans with the Communication Workers Union, expected to be announced this week, and could not comment further.

But campaigner Julie Wassmer said: "Please be assured that the fight for our postal delivery office is winnable – and far from over.

"If Royal Mail continues with its plans, people in Whitstable are prepared to show effective opposition by staging a mass 'opt out' of door-to-door mail, which provides a huge revenue for Royal Mail. This action will come as a real blow to the company, especially since it could easily spread to other areas."

A mass motorcade is scheduled from Gorrell Tank car park to the Canterbury delivery office in Military Road on Saturday.

At least 22 vehicles are expected – the number of vans which will be used by postal workers if the move goes ahead.

This follows a smaller protest convoy last week to test Royal Mail claims the journey will not affect the service.

Mrs Wassmer said: "Royal Mail expects this journey to be made up to four times a day by postal staff. We will see what happens, just once, when 22 vehicles hit Saturday traffic in Canterbury."

At the annual meeting of the Kent Invicta Branch of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) on Saturday members from across Kent agreed to ballot on strike action in support of Whitstable staff.

Postal worker and Whitstable CWU rep, Chris Stone, said: "This was a fantastic, and a very important, result for Whitstable. It shows that the branch as a whole are willing to take action in support of our campaign and that they reject the Royal Mail's bullying tactics in trying to force a move without our consent."

Anyone wishing to join the convoy should meet in the Gorrell Tank car park at 1pm. If possible, cars should be decorated with red ribbon or tape.

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3 comments

  • teanstickies  |  February 17 2013, 2:50PM

    There will be those who doubt whether all the RM vans would be on the road at the same time.. my experience, from another Delivery Office that was closed and amalgamated into another site, is that, Yes, the RM vans do leave the depot and travel in 'convoy' and return back to the depot in 'convoy' because the rounds all start and finish at the same time.. Also set-time collections run throughout the afternoon and early evening 'commuting' back and forth..

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  • CStone  |  February 17 2013, 1:17PM

    Hello bunter, well that's not quite true is it? We did support our Herne Bay colleagues. We had two public meetings and one march in Herne Bay, plus we used to meet at the May Lodge club in Herne Bay once a fortnight, and invited our Herne Bay colleagues to attend. Unfortunately they didn't, but that's not our fault is it? We did our best to engage them. The county-wide strike ballot was called for at the AGM by all the reps in the CT and ME areas, not only by Whitstable. What they realise is that if the Royal Mail force Whitstable to move into Canterbury without a revision, then it could happen to any office. As for the gatekeeper, that wasn't the posties but the public, and it wasn't aggressiveness but joie de vivre.

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  • bunter09  |  February 16 2013, 7:52AM

    What a load of load of rubbish a county wide strike.You did not support your Herne Bay or Canterbury colleagues when they had to move to Canterbury and Rochester respectively.How thick you do you think the public is, we all know that there will never be 22 Royal Mail vans going back to the Canterbury Office all at the same time.So carry on striking because you are not only not caring about Royal Mail customer,s because you may say the whitstable people are behind you but what about all the other people around the country not receiving their mail from whitstable.Do they care about you NO and do you care about them NO again how selfish are you and lets see you upset the gatekeeper again at canterbury with your aggresiveness i see that never got into the paper the way you behaved you are showing how low life you can become.

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