Managers accused of uniform deception

Striking postal workers yesterday accused their bosses of donning uniforms and driving around London in Royal Mail vans to convince the public that postmen and women were going back to work.

At Europe's largest sorting office, Mount Pleasant in central London, wildcat strikers said they were convinced there is a dirty tricks campaign. The latest claim emanating from the picket lines is that managers from as far afield as Scotland had been bussed in so that senior management could give the impression of a divided workforce by taking part in the subterfuge.

"Some management are putting on uniforms and driving around in vans," one striking postman said. "Others aren't wearing suits - they're dressing down so that it looks like workers are breaking the strike."

The allegations revealed the deep bitterness that many postal workers hold against their bosses after weeks of attacks from senior management. The postal workers are now so fearful of recriminations for taking part in the strike that none would give their names to The Independent on Sunday.

"There are cameras up there," said one - a family man in his mid-thirties - pointing to CCTV equipment above the main entrance. "And there are guys driving past taking notes - it's like their own little police force."

The unofficial strike at Mount Pleasant started last Tuesday. Yesterday they were feeling the cold, but were determined to dig in for the long haul. "Just wait until it starts snowing," joked one.

"We might fall on hard times," admitted one postmen, a father with two young daughters, "but I'm doing it for their future."

But for others, the sacrifice is too much to bear.

"I need to put food on the table for my little boy," said a security guard who went in to work. "How do I look him in the eye if he's hungry?"

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