ROYAL Mail staff have complained about new management practices, claiming they are being refused bathroom visits and that tea breaks are now timed.

Workers at the Dorcan delivery office in Roland Hill Close, which has 70 employees, say they feel bullied and harassed by a number of new managers who they say are refusing to investigate their complaints, which totalled 35 in one week.

“We feel like prisoners, we can’t even talk to one another because we are being watched and timed,” said one worker who refused to be named.

He said: “I used to love my job, now it’s like a gulag in there.”

Since January 1, workers have complained that the number of managers in the office has doubled, from three to six, and during recent weeks their tea breaks have been timed.

Further complaints include employees having to cover extra rounds when colleagues are off sick, and if they cannot complete them in time they face disciplinary action and even dismissal.

Employees believe tracking devices, intended to improve safety, are being used to spy on their movements and claim they are being refused toilet stops if they would be 15 minutes before or after a scheduled break.

Another employee said: “I feel like I can’t even talk to my colleagues anymore because I am always being watched.

“There has been a manager in the canteen for weeks now writing our break times in a little notepad.

“And if I don’t complete someone else’s shift they are liable to pull me in and say ‘I saw you talking to him for three minutes – you could have better used your time’.

“People are being refused toilet stops if they are 15 minutes before or after break time.

“I feel like I can’t even talk to my colleagues anymore because I am always being watched.”

A worker who has been with Royal Mail for 20 years said: “If traffic is light sometimes you can do your route and the extra load but if you don’t complete because of things outside your control you face getting into trouble.

“It puts massive amounts of stress on us.

“Also in this economic atmosphere people are already scared enough, it’s just not right to put us through more grief.”

Chris Rye, local representative of the Communication Workers’ Union, confirmed he had received 35 bullying and harassment complaints.

He said: “Royal Mail have refused to investigate or allow the National Bullying Helpline, of Devizes Road, in the premises to investigate.

“I cannot comment on individual cases as they are confidential, but I am hoping that Royal Mail will move on this matter as they are supposed to have a zero tolerance on bullying and harassment.”

A Royal Mail Group spokeswoman said: “Royal Mail takes a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment and always investigates such allegations.

“Discussions between the CWU and Royal Mail managers over a number of personnel issues are ongoing. “However, it is nonsense to suggest that breaks are being denied or timed.

“No-one at the Dorcan site has been suspended or disciplined.”