Some 500 CWU post workers’ union reps met last week for a two-day national briefing.
They discussed how to defeat the threat of privatisation, reverse changes to the pension scheme, and defend jobs threatened by Royal Mail’s “modernisation” and automation plans.
The CWU’s lobbying campaign has won a manifesto statement from New Labour commiting the government to keeping Royal Mail publicly owned.
The Hooper Review of liberalisation of the postal industry is due to report this month.
Whatever the outcome of that, the CWU must demand that the government stops the regulator Postcomm undermining Royal Mail in favour of its competition.
The government must take responsibility for clearing the pension scheme deficit, which was created when Royal Mail took a 13-year contributions holiday, while paying £1.7 billion into government coffers.
New Labour, with Peter Mandelson now at the Department for Trade and Industry, will decide what to implement from the Hooper Review. We have to keep it under pressure.
CWU policy is to ballot the membership for action if the government privatises any part of Royal Mail, fails to maintain the final salary pensions scheme, or doesn’t protect the Post Office network.
None of the attacks that postal workers face can be tackled in isolation. For now, the CWU leadership is waiting for a positive outcome from the Hooper Review.
But if this fails to materialise, or if Royal Mail chooses to carry on with mail centre closures or refuses to negotiate on pensions, we must ballot for action.
Management has thrown down the gauntlet to the union by announcing plans to close mail centres in Liverpool and Crewe and centralise the work in Warrington.
The anger against this was shown on Monday of this week when workers in Liverpool refused to cross Romec engineers’ picket lines.