Postal workers and their supporters will gather in Gloucester this Saturday to protest against the closure of the city's mail centre. Paul Trehearne, branch secretary of Gloucester's CWU union branch, explains why they will be marching
Royal Mail's managers tell postal workers that they cannot afford any more than a 2.5 percent pay rise this year. The reason they give is the 'tough' financial position that the business finds itself in.
Yet in Gloucestershire, Royal Mail is planning an expensive and unnecessary restructuring that will involve shutting Gloucester's mail centre and transferring the facilities to Wiltshire.
Under the plans, Royal Mail will have to find the funds to build an extension to Swindon's mail centre, re-house the motor transport depot at Gloucester, buy a number of HGV vehicles, and adapt or expand existing delivery offices in Gloucester.
And on top of that expense, Royal Mail will have to pay out millions of pounds in early voluntary redundancy packages and hundreds of thousands of pounds in excess travel claims for staff commuting to Swindon on a daily basis. So where is all this money coming from?
Gloucester has proved over the years that it is a productive mail centre. With a change of senior management in the area, we are sure it would earn Royal Mail much needed revenue for the future while providing employment for dedicated and loyal postal workers.
Local people know this plan is wrong. The employees at Gloucestershire's mail centre know it is wrong. And the CWU's annual conference unanimously backed a motion calling on Royal Mail to be transparent about its plans for the mail centre network.
This motion stated that if Royal Mail were to close any mail centre or distribution centre without agreement with the union, a national ballot for strike action will be called.
On Saturday this week there will be a demo and rally in defence of Gloucester's mail centre at Gloucester city centre, starting outside the Shire Hall building in Westgate Street.
This will be the biggest gathering of CWU activists and members since the overwhelming vote for strike action was achieved in our national pay ballot.
We must use this rally as the start of a fightback by CWU members against Royal Mail's plans to close mail centres, and run down our postal service.
Paul Trehearne will be speaking at the Gloucester rally alongside CWU general secretary Billy Hayes and local Labour MPs Parmjit Dhanda and David Drew. For more information go to » www.savegloucestermailcentre.co.uk