Over 350 people marched through Gloucester last Saturday against the closure of the city’s mail centre.
Despite torrential rain there was an excellent spirit about the protest, which drew wide support from postal workers across Britain. Delegations came from Scotland, Wales, Birmingham, London, Newcastle, Oxford, Wolverhampton, south west England and other areas.
Paul Trehearne, Gloucester CWU union branch secretary, told the rally at the end of the march that mail centre closures were “part of the national dispute”.
He condemned management for failing to listen to the near unanimous opposition to their plans.
Mike Hartland, a processing rep at the mail centre, spoke powerfully about the generations of people who had worked in the Gloucester Royal Mail. His father was a postal worker as is his wife and brother in law.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes told how mail centres in Liverpool and Dartford had been saved after energetic campaigns.
“If you don’t fight, you’ve already lost,” he said to applause. He sent a message to Gordon Brown that the Labour Party must connect with its working class supporters and not just concentrate on “Middle England”.
Des Arthur brought a message of support from workers at Coventry mail centre, which is also threatened with closure.
At the end of the rally, 479 balloons were released, one for each employee at the mail centre whose job is at risk. The strong feeling of solidarity at the march gave a sense of the spirit that workers were to take to the picket lines this week.