Royal Mail’s reported annual profits have doubled to £321 million, but the government is still determined to push ahead with privatising it.
Its profits have expanded despite the recession and a 5.5 percent fall in the number of letters being sent.
Dave Ward, the CWU union deputy general secretary, said, “We feel vindicated for our position on full public ownership for the company.
“While private mail companies, including TNT, have seen huge profit reductions, Royal Mail’s operating profit has doubled.”
Royal Mail is planning to slash its wage bill by 10 percent by cutting 16,000 jobs.
It has already axed 50,000 jobs since 2002.
Furthermore, the bosses are proposing a pay freeze for all 181,000 staff.
All of this is feeding a growing mood for action against management attacks.
Postal workers from 160 workplaces in the London area are being balloted for strike action over cuts.
Royal Mail is imposing arbitrary cost savings of 10 percent on all offices, regardless of workload.
Royal Mail’s 2009-10 business plan shows that four east London delivery offices could have their workerforce cut by 54—to just 308.
Martin Walsh, from London CWU, said, “It is clear that Royal Mail is deliberately running down the Royal Mail service ahead of partial privatisation.
“This is about the destruction of services, the erosion of full time jobs and reducing the terms and conditions of the lowest paid workers in Royal Mail—while at the same time managers continue to profit from fat cat bonuses and obscene rates of pay.
“While Royal Mail continues to virtually derecognise the CWU and break existing national agreements including, in our view, breaking the law on redundancy, then we will take whatever means necessary to preserve Royal Mail as a respected public service.
“The strike ballot in London is about defending the future of Royal Mail and the services it provides to the public.
“We’re also protecting our members against Royal Mail’s slash and burn policy and attempts to try and fool the public with that old trick of rubbish the system so privatisation looks better.
“The public are a lot more sophisticated and won’t fall for that.”
The ballot opened on Monday and runs for two weeks.
Labour is trying to force through privatisation at a time when the expenses scandal have deepened its unpopularity.
A national fight can beat back privatisation.