A strike of Britain's 230,000 postal workers threatens to close down all the country's mail services and server its telephone links with the outside world.
SV Post Office van from sorting office
GV EXT. UPW House
CU Sign ditto
SV Jackson & other union leaders in conference (4 shots)
SV GVs CUs Jackson (SOF) & shots of post office activities
SV Man posting letters
SV EXT. Mount Pleasant sorting office
SV Sorters at Mount Pleasant at work (3 shots)
SV Mailbags on barrows waiting
SV Deserted sorting bay PAN empty hampers
TRANSCRIPT: INTERVIEWER: (SEQ. 5) "Will this strike affect all Post Office services?"
JACKSON: "We represent postmen, so the mail services will be affected instantaneously. We represent telephonists, and there'll be a gradual slowdown of the telephone service as the subscriber dialling services are eliminated. There'll be no telegrams, either inland or overseas, and overseas telephone calls, which are all set up by operators, will be very badly affected."
INTERVIEWER: "This of course will hit the British public very hard, the Post Office service, but I see this morning you took space in most of the national newspapers to explain your case. Is this one way in which to soften the blow?"
JACKSON: "Soften the blow, perhaps. This is the first time this has been done by a British trade union, but we felt we had a good case which was worthy of explanation, and so we spent money on this. We are hoping not to affect certain humanitarian services which the Post Office provide, and our members without money will pay social security payments at Post Office counters, will take emergency calls, and so on."
INTERVIEWER: "How long do you propose to continue the strike, Mr. Jackson?"
JACKSON: "Until we win, or until we lose."
INTERVIEWER: "Thank you."
JACKSON: "Thank you."
Initials GL/AS/SGM/2343 GL/AS/BB/2149
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A strike of Britain's 230,000 postal workers threatens to close down all the country's mail services and server its telephone links with the outside world. The postal workers are due to stop work at midnight on Tuesday/Wednesday.
The Union of Post Office Workers announced on Friday that it would call its first-ever national strike unless it received a pay offer "worth looking at" in the meantime. The union is seeking an average three pounds sterling (7 dollars) a week for its members, compared with a management offer of about half. The basic rate for postmen is 18 pounds (43 dollars) and for telephone operators 17 pounds (41 dollars) a week.
The union demand is equivalent to a 16 per cent rise, and the Post Office management, stiffened by Government encouragement to avoid "inflationary" increases, has refused to go beyond eight per cent.
The effect of the strike if it takes place, will be felt immediately in the postal services, as union members stop sorting and delivery of the 35 million letters and half a million parcels they handle every day. The Post Office has already stopped accepting any parcels, and parcel sorting bays are empty.
On the telephone service the effect will be more gradual, as a large part of it is automatic. Manual switchboards are due to close at once, cutting off most contact with the outside world, but automatic dialled calls will be still be possible within the country, to many parts of Europe and to New York. But as equipment breaks down it will not be replaced, so a gradual paralysis of telephone services is possible.
Telegram and telex services will be similarly affected. Telephone operators will work without pay to accept emergency fire, police and ambulance calls, and unpaid counter clerks will work a few hours each week to pay old-age pensions and other welfare benefits normally paid out at post offices.
Details of the strike were given today (Sunday) by Union General Secretary Mr. Tom Jackson: