Socialist Worker

Late delivery of apology from Channel 4 bosses

Issue No. 1927

CHANNEL 4’s Dispatches programme has finally admitted it portrayed postal workers unfairly and misleadingly in a programme broadcast in April.

Postal workers and their CWU union were outraged by the programme, which unleashed a media witch-hunt against “lazy, thieving postmen”.

The programme purported to show postal workers stealing credit cards from the post.

It was advertised with posters which showed an actor posing as a Royal Mail worker apparently stealing from an envelope.

Channel 4 has finally issued a statement, six months after the programme.

The statement says that it “acknowledges and accepts, following evidence supplied after broadcast by Barclaycard, that the credit card had not in fact been taken from the post as the worker had claimed but had been fraudulently obtained and was being fenced by a temporary postal worker away from Royal Mail premises.”

It goes on to concede, “Newspaper advertisements to promote the programme consisted of a mocked-up photograph showing an envelope containing a birthday card being opened and money taken from it by an actor posing as a Royal Mail worker.

“During the period of undercover filming no such or similar acts were filmed.”


WORKERS AND their supporters from Paddington mail centre in London held a protest on Friday of last week against Royal Mail’s plans to run down and close their workplace (above).

Around 200 staff wearing masks depicting the main players on the Royal Mail board—Allan Leighton and Adam Crozier—drew attention to the attack on the mail centre and the subsequent worsening of the service.

Management’s plans will also mean even more choking traffic.

The closure will begin in May 2005 with the transfer of work to Greenford. Further transfers will follow.

The changes are purely financially driven. The only criteria are how much the site is worth and how much money can be saved by closing the centre.

Norman Candy, a member of the CWU union’s national executive, was on the protest. He told Socialist Worker, “Since 1992 the number of mail centres in London has fallen from ten to four. Now it could be three.

“You can track the fall in service against management’s closures. The Paddington building isn’t perfect, but why can’t we have an improved mail centre locally?”

Ken Streeter, CWU area processing representative, said, “There will be a large increase in vehicle movements and journey times by moving work to three mail centres currently handled by one.

“The CWU has long argued for investment to provide a first class postal service, but this has fallen on deaf ears.”

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Sat 13 Nov 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1927
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