POSTAL workers have voted to go on strike.
An overwhelming 84 per cent of those who took part in the Communications Workers’ Union ballot voted in favour of strike action as the next step in the escalating dispute over the pay freeze at the Post Office.
Chief Minister Tony Brown has so far refused to intervene in the dispute, despite a plea from the CWU.
The ballot of CWU members closed today (Wednesday). There was an 85.5 per cent turnout from its membership, which amounts to more than 250 workers in the island.
CWU assistant secretary Terry Pullinger said: ‘This is a compelling ballot result which sends a clear message to Post Office management.
‘We now urge the company to return to talks to resolve this dispute and avoid any strike action.
‘The strong result clearly demonstrates the depth of feeling of postal workers. They are a loyal and dedicated workforce that have returned outstanding quality of service and increased profits year on year and they believe, as does their union, that they deserve to be rewarded for their efforts.
‘Equally, they have earned the right to have their case heard openly and impartially.’
However, he said the union still hoped to strike a deal without resorting to industrial action.
But the Post Office says any strike action would be ‘reckless’.
Chairman Alan Crowe MLC said he was saddened at the outcome of the ballot.
‘We appreciate and understand a pay freeze is difficult for all of our staff to accept,’ he said. ‘However we urge everyone regardless of the way they have voted not to strike.
‘Isle of Man Post Office welcomes the CWU’s comment today that the ballot result should be used to focus all parties not on strikes, but on solutions. We continue to be open to further talks with the union against the backdrop of the freeze on public sector pay budgets.
‘Strike action would be reckless and its only outcome would be damage to the business, jeopardising customer and public support for the Post Office and putting jobs at risk. It would not change the freeze on public sector pay budgets that is currently in place.’