Postal workers threaten strike

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CHRISTMAS deliveries of cards and parcels could be disrupted across Sheffield next week - as up to 350 city postal workers threaten to strike on Monday after not being paid.

The action, proposed by Christmas casuals working at the Brightside Lane sorting office, could cause chaos during the busiest postal period of the year.

The workers claim that employment agency Angard Staffing Solutions, which provides extra Christmas staff for the Royal Mail, hasn’t paid them.

Some say they are £700 out of pocket. One said he had worked 90 hours - and been paid £7.

The postal union has described Angard’s actions as ‘unacceptable’.

One worker, who didn’t want to give his name for fear of the sack, said: “They make us work like dogs - it’s real hard graft, proper physical stuff. We have to drag huge loads around and lift heavy boxes.”

He said he had no problems working as a Christmas temp for the Royal Mail before, but this is the first year he has had to apply through Angard.

The Royal Mail Group set up the centralised staffing agency this year in an attempt to reduce the costs of temporary recruiting for Christmas. Previously Christmas casuals had been recruited from a number of agencies.

But problems have been reported across the country, with staff at sorting offices in Swindon, Canterbury, Preston and Birmingham among those aggrieved.

The Sheffield worker added: “We were told we would get paid during our second week of work but now it’s coming up to the end of the third and we still haven’t seen anything. They’ve even been asking some of us to do overtime. If we don’t get paid we’re going to walk out on Monday.”

Another worker added: “It’s absolutely disgusting. People are in tears in the sorting office, they can’t afford Christmas presents.”

The workers have been told by Royal Mail bosses to contact the agency directly - but nobody is answering their calls. The Star tried to contact Angard by phone but calls were not answered, and emails were not responded to.

Dave Ward, deputy general secretary of the Communications Workers Union, said: “We’ve had complaints from around the country. These are vulnerable people who took casual work in the hope of making some cash for Christmas. Not paying people is completely unacceptable.

“I’ve contacted Royal Mail at the highest level and we are urging them to get a grip on this.”

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Difficulties with the payroll system have meant some temporary workers not have been paid on time or by the correct amount. We apologise – our temporary staff are very important to us.

“We are making huge efforts to put in place an additional payment channel – staff receiving a barcoded letter which can be redeemed at any post office.”