A POST Office chief claims rumours about senior manager pay rises are an attempt to get workers to vote for strike action.
Rumours are rife among postal workers that regrading of some senior positions has enabled the pay freeze to be sidestepped.
A total of 202 out of 272 Communications Workers’ Union members attended a meeting with the union’s national officer Terry Pullinger on Sunday.
Ballot papers asking whether postal workers were ‘prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike’ were due to be delivered as the Examiner went to press.
Mr Pullinger said the rumour ‘really needs to be quashed as soon as possible’ and was ‘gaining some momentum’ among staff.
Isle of Man Post Office chairman Alan Crowe MLC said: ‘This rumour circulating about senior management pay is a clear attempt to spread misinformation and gain votes. I can categorically say the only change to pay during 2010 and 2011 for anyone working for Isle of Man Post Office is if they have been due an incremental rise on their pay scale or if they have been appointed into a new job.
‘There have been no changes to the recognised pay scales during this period.’
Postal workers have until March 16 to vote. The CWU has urged members to vote yes and has hit out at bosses for refusing a rise or going to arbitration.
When asked whether he thought members would strike, Mr Pullinger said: ‘Based on the temperature I took on Sunday in the meeting, my belief is people are angry enough to protest that in the vote.’
But he said there was still time for Post Office chiefs to resolve the issue.
The Post Office was hit by the government’s public sector pay freeze which came into effect last year.
The union believes staff are entitled to a pay rise because the company was making a profit and ‘agreed in 2009 to share success with its staff’.
Post Office chief executive Mike Kelly said: ‘Much has been made by the CWU regarding a previous agreement on pay. The Post Office has no record of any such agreement. The CWU have been asked on numerous occasions for a signed copy of it and they have so far been unable to do so.’
He added: ‘The Post Office believes that its staff should be rewarded fairly, and we believe our track record of pay and employment conditions reflects this.
‘However the difficult circumstances the island is facing and the freeze on public sector pay budgets means these aspirations cannot be met at this time.’
There are about 450 postal workers.