Socialist Worker

'The Facts': Royal Mail's big lie to postal workers

Issue No. 2049

Post bosses are pumping out propaganda in an effort to stop a pay revolt. But it's based on lies.

In its 'The Facts' leaflet issued to all staff this week, it says, 'It is misleading to compare the pay of postmen and postwomen with average national pay which is skewed by the wages of lawyers, surgeons, footballers and directors'.

It goes on to quote a small selection of workers who seem to earn about the same as postal workers. The implication is clear – postal workers aren't badly off.

It's certainly true that fat cats like Royal Mail bosses Allan Leighton and Adam Crozier do raise the average. But this doesn't alter the fact that postal workers are still appallingly paid.

The government's official 2006 annual survey of hours and earnings for full time workers uses a median figure – the wage of the middle person in an income distribution with as many people paid more than them and as many paid less – to get a figure for average earnings.

This is not skewed by the high wages of a few. The median figure (in 2006 remember) was £447.10 a week. For postal workers the median basic pay now is £323.

Furthermore the same survey found that just 25 percent of full time workers in 2006 (men and women) were paid less than £316.30 a week. That almost exactly equates to £323 today.

So 75 percent of earners get more than postal workers. This is the reality of low pay – and management wants to make it worse.

'The Facts' goes on to say, 'We are losing business because our costs are high – including our wages – which are 25 percent more than our competitors.'

This is Royal Mail's real agenda – to cut pay by a quarter. It has to be met by a strike.


The following letter from a postal delivery worker was sent to Socialist Worker this week:

'I have seen our office squeezed until quite frankly the only thing left to squeeze is the staff.

'Now I'm so pissed off with my job that I'm prepared to strike for as long as it takes.

'What was once a great job has become virtually unbearable for me personally.

'And the latest one-off payment from Royal Mail is the final insult. It's taxable, it's not pensionable – and in the meantime all my bills increase!

'We've seen this coming for months, and it's about time we stood up to Royal Mail.'


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Tue 1 May 2007, 19:22 BST
Issue No. 2049
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