Anger with New Labour among postal workers has reached record highs since the privatisation announcement.
“I’ve been a Labour supporter all my life and I feel utterly betrayed,” says Peter Hall, branch secretary of the Cleveland branch of the CWU union.
“Everyone at work is talking about privatisation and we all know what it will mean for our pay and jobs – they will be slashed.
“People are scared because Royal Mail is one of the biggest employers in towns like Darlington.
“The jobs in steel and chemicals have already gone, or are going. This week we all got letters asking us if we want to take early retirement or reduced hours. That’s just a sign of Royal Mail preparing to sell us off.
“I worked for British Steel in the 1980s when it was the Tories attacking us.
“Now I have this shuddering thought that we are going back to those times, but this time it is a Labour government that’s doing it – and our union is still paying them!
“The feeling here is that we’ve had enough and we should stop funding Labour’s election campaigns. If that were put to a ballot, as CWU conference decided last year, it would win hands down.”
Last week the Bradford branch of the CWU voted to send a motion to the next national conference calling for complete disaffiliation from Labour if any part of Royal Mail is privatised.
Area delivery sub rep Simon Midgley told Socialist Worker that the decision followed from a 200-strong AGM last month which debated the issue.
“We want the union to carry on having a political voice,” Simon told Socialist Worker. “But we don’t want to carry on funding Labour if it is going to attack us.
“Instead, we’re calling for the union to back only those MPs who are against post privatisation and in favour of the Trade Union Freedom Bill. Why should we carry on paying for the privilege of being attacked by Gordon Brown and Lord Mandelson?”
Keep the Post Public national march and rally organised by the CWU union Midlands region. It is in the constituency of postal affairs minister Pat McFadden.
Saturday 14 March, 11.30am, Guru Nanak Sikh Temple at corner of Greencroft and Arthur St, Bilston, Wolverhampton WV14. Speakers include CWU general secretary Billy Hayes, deputy general secretary Dave Ward, Geraldine Smith MP, CWU vice president Jane Loftus and John Grogan MP