Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Wouldn't Deliver Fascist Crap Either - Would You?

From the Manchester Evening News - hat tip: Bruce

Posties refuse BNP leaflets
May 19, 2009

ROYAL Mail workers have refused to deliver British National Party election leaflets as their union accuses Royal Mail of breaking a 'conscience clause' allowing staff to refuse to deliver literature they find offensive.

A number of the 160 delivery staff at a postal depot in Macclesfield told bosses they would not distribute the material. Some postal staff in Prestwich, Bury, Glossop, Wilmslow, and Alderley Edge have also objected to delivering the leaflets.

Sian Jones, spokeswoman for the Communication Workers Union said: "At Macclesfield staff were apparently told by delivery depot manager that if they did not deliver the BNP leaflets they would not be allowed to deliver any political leaflets, and so would lose money, as they get extra for delivering them. That is a clear breach of the clause we agreed.

The pamphlets promote the BNP ahead of the European Parliamentary elections on June 4.

The Royal Mail has a legal obligation under the Representation of the People Act to deliver election material but delivery of the leaflets has caused anger.

Vicky Charles, who lives in Hazel Grove, Stockport, said: "The postman gave one of the leaflets to me as we were outside packing the car. I was outraged and said I didn't want it.

"But he said 'I have got to deliver it'. It was full of inflammatory statements relating to Muslims and asylum seekers. It annoyed me greatly, but how will people from black and ethnic minority groups feel about having this stuff pushed through their letter box?"

A spokesman for the Royal Mail said in a statement said: "Where possible we will try to be flexible and sensitive to individual personal circumstances or beliefs. However, we need to balance this with Royal Mail's legal obligations, under the Representation of People Act, to deliver election material."

BNP spokesman Simon Darby, said: "It is called an election - it is one of the privileges of living in a democracy.

"Most of the leaflets have gone out. If some post workers don't want to deliver the leaflets they will find some with a more professional attitude, who want the overtime and will. It is up to the public what they read not post workers."

He said the Royal mail had delivered 29 million leaflets nationwide for the BNP.

Bob Gibson, CWU national official, said: "We have a national agreement with Royal Mail with a conscience clause which allows individuals to exercise their right to not deliver material which they find offensive or believe their customers may find offensive.

"It is not specific to any political party. We are protecting the rights of our members to be safe at work. Royal Mail has a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees.

"We have had instances of delivery workers being threatened, chased and spat at for delivering some election leaflets. We will support individuals who feel strongly about delivering these items. Postal workers are well within their rights to refuse to deliver offensive material."

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