The postal service is no stranger to internal dissent and acrimony, and it looks like there’s another storm brewing. But this time it’s not about pay, hours, terms and conditions or any of the usual industrial dispute culprits.
It’s about bike helmets.
Royal Mail is planning to require all postmen (yes, and women) who deliver mail by bike to wear helmets. This is despite the fact that there’s no legal requirement to wear helmets while cycling and the Health and Safety Executive, usually the authority in these matters, say that helmet wearing isn’t a requirement when cycling.
But Royal Mail is apparently pressing on regardless. Postal workers are opposed to the move, though. They don’t see why they should have to wear helmets when the rest of the country doesn’t. They fear that if they’re involved in an accident not wearing a helmet that their legal position may be weakened in seeking compensation (although a number of cases have set the opposite precedent). The CTC, long known for its pro-choice helmet stance, is backing the postal workers and asking affected Royal Mail staff to contact them.
And what’s all this got to do with us, you may ask? Well, juxtapose the words ‘thin’, ‘end’ and ‘wedge’ and you’re getting the idea – if an employer the size of Royal Mail succeeds in making its workers wear helmets, it’s only a matter of time before some other influential body gets the same idea. Like, say, the Government. And while wearing helmets is, in our opinion, a good idea, being made to wear them is, again in our opinion, not a good idea at all…
Want to get your oar in? A bunfight, er, public meeting, has been arranged to discuss the issue. If you’re looking for the right place for an argument, the place to be is the Railway Institute, York and the time to be there is Friday 5 September at 6.30pm. It’s a public meeting so anyone can turn up and have their say.