Postal workers claim they are being forced to deliver British National Party election leaflets or face the sack.
Royal Mail bosses are said to have warned postmen they could lose their jobs unless they carry the ultra-Right-wing party's campaign literature. Around 100 workers in the West Country have told union leaders they will not carry the anti-immigration leaflets because they do not want to promote the BNP's extremist 'rubbish'.
Postmen, who were asked to start delivering the BNP's 29million leaflets this week ahead of the European elections next month, are also said to be afraid for their safety if they are seen delivering the anti-immigration message in racially mixed areas.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has accused Royal Mail chiefs in Bristol and Somerset of 'bullying' and says one office threatened workers with the sack if they did not comply. Bristol and District CWU spokesman Dave Wilshire said today: 'What's happening is that managers in Bristol are effectively bullying people. Someone from Thornbury said to me if we don't deliver it we will get the sack. That is outrageous.'
Royal Mail is breaking a 'conscience clause' agreed four years ago which allows staff to refuse to deliver literature they find offensive, he said.
'Over the past 48 hours I've had around 32 calls from individual members and those speaking on behalf of groups, saying they don't want to deliver the material. That is fair enough. The clause says members don't have to deliver material if they feel threatened or if it is against their personal beliefs.'
He added: 'In Bristol we have the St Paul's area which has a very high density of those from ethnic backgrounds. Anyone being expected to post BNP stuff through there is going to feel at risk.'