Proposed changes in Royal Mail delivery methods – including replacing the traditional postie’s bike with two-person vans – have led to an unofficial strike in Lincoln and protests from a union and MPs in Cambridge.
A CWU (Communication Workers Union) spokesman told BikeRadar that the unofficial walkout in Lincoln has been taking place since Monday and involves about 50 workers.
He said it was triggered by managers insisting on workers using vans rather than the established bike and foot delivery service.
The strike came hot on the heels of similar Royal Mail proposals in Cambridge. There, the CWU’s area delivery representative, Steve Butts, said: “A briefing came into our possession saying that Royal Mail wanted to save money and that one of the ways they are thinking of doing so is to switch deliveries from bikes to vans.”
Mr Butts said most deliveries are currently carried out by foot and bicycle, with the postal service ‘topped up’ by a small fleet of vans. He said the move towards using more vans would be bad for both workers and the environment.
“It is clear that this move is aimed at cutting the workforce, and possibly also closing down delivery offices,” he said. “And of course, it makes even less sense to make such changes in Cambridge, the UK’s cycling capital.”
Local politicians also roundly condemned the idea of replacing posties on bikes with van deliveries. Cambridge MP David Howarth said: “This is madness. Cambridge is clogged with traffic and here we have Royal Mail wanting to add to the problem. It should be leading by example.”
The city’s executive councillor for climate change and growth, Sian Reid, said: “This is absolutely ludicrous. How can Royal Mail justify delivering mail by van instead of bike when traffic is often at a standstill in Cambridge?”
Royal Mail denied any policy of replacing bikes with vans, and issued the following statement to BikeRadar:
“We are reviewing our network to ensure we continue to deliver the mail as efficiently as possible to our customers. Any changes will be discussed with our people first but we will continue to use a range of vehicles, including vans, trolleys and bikes where appropriate, and customers should see no significant changes to their daily deliveries.”