Royal Mail announced this week that it is to close down two large mail centres in south and east London. This will throw 1,000 workers on the dole or force them to move if they want to keep their jobs.
The announcement created outrage through Royal Mail offices.
“Our members are furious,” Mark Dolan, CWU union area delivery rep for north/north west London, told Socialist Worker.
“Mount Pleasant in central London will be the only remaining mail centre in the capital.”
But the bosses’ attack doesn’t stop with those two closures.
Royal Mail also announced that it will shut around half of its 64 offices around the country in the next five years.
The closures will have a devastating impact on workers and the service.
But these matters don’t concern the bosses who want to fatten up Royal Mail by shutting offices, selling off the land and sacking workers.
They want it to be ripe for the government’s privatisation plans.
Royal Mail claims that it will try to move workers if they are prepared to show “reasonable flexibility.”
But Mark says this ignores the reality of workers’ lives.
“They expect us to work further away from home, without compensation,” Mark added. “They don’t care about our family lives. Some of us can’t just up and move. And there will be an increase in part-time work, which means many of us will face a pay cut.
“This attack is about more than the closures. In my view it breaks the three-year agreement we reached in 2010.
“And on top of all this, we’ve been told that the shares they sold us are worthless. A lot of us thought it was a phoney scheme all along, and we were right.”
Despite a number of major strikes, thousands of people have lost their jobs since 2002, while the union has done deals with the company.
Many workers feel that strikes have been thrown away when the union should have been on the offensive.
“Some members are angry that the union took the foot off the pedal in 2009 when we reached an agreement,” Mark said.
“But we have to pull that anger together and drive it towards Royal Mail and the government, who are really responsible for what is going on.
“The government wants to turn the postal service into a private business. We have to fight back.”
There is a tradition of militancy among postal workers. This has been weakened in the last few years. But the anger in the offices shows the mood to fight.
Postal workers will need to return to their tactic of walking out unofficially to win.
They also need to demand that their union ballot them for official strikes.