HARD-UP postal workers are using a food bank in their delivery office amid a row over who put it there.

Striking staff were on the picket line outside the office in North Road, Brighton, yesterday as part of long-running strike action in a dispute over pay.

Postman Tom Bancroft, a Communication Workers Union (CWU) representative, told The Argus that he and colleagues had set up the food bank because it was desperately needed.

Although Royal Mail bosses insist they were the ones who set it up.

The Argus:

He said: “We knew that members were going to suffer. I had members telling me they weren’t going to be able to cope.

"We knew we had to do something to help people that needed help.”

But a Royal Mail spokesman said: “We have, for a while, been gathering food for distribution to local food bank charities. 

"We have listened to the fact that many of our people are feeling the impact of the cost of living now. So have recently allowed members of staff access to the food that has been collected."

When Royal Mail's response was put to Mr Bancroft, he said that their statement was "Completely false." He said: "We established the foodbank ourselves to help our colleagues.

"For them to take credit for that is unbelievable given the circumstances."

The union has a further seven days' strike action in the run-up to Christmas, including Christmas Eve.

With many families’ Christmas deliveries in jeopardy, Mr Bancroft said the striking workers have “great sympathy with customers who are affected” and that they “want to be delivering Christmas cards, want to be delivering Christmas presents as that brings us a lot of pleasure”

He said: “Posties build up bonds with the people we get to deliver to.

"We don’t get paid by the parcel, we’re not slinging mail down the driveway. We know how much it means to people to get things delivered over Christmas

"As much as it’s going to affect people, the proposed changes to Royal Mail terms will affect my members a lot more.

"It’s not easy for us to lose the pay that we’re losing."

Mr Bancroft said industrial action was necessary to ensure that Royal Mail is able to “deliver for many more Decembers”.

The Argus: Workers have been striking since August 2022 (Image: PA)Workers have been striking since August 2022 (Image: PA)

CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: “Royal Mail bosses are risking a Christmas meltdown because of their stubborn refusal to treat their employees with respect.”

The strikes come as workers fear the “casualisation” of the job, along with pay cuts, put thousands of jobs at risk. Union representative Tom Bancroft said the upcoming "Amazon model" was unsustainable for the future of the company; suggesting that profitable parcels are set to take precedent over letters; leaving many postmen to "wither on the vine."