Socialist Worker

Taking to the streets against postal sell-off

Issue No. 1981

Shoppers queue up to sign a petition against Royal Mail privatisation
 (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Shoppers queue up to sign a petition against Royal Mail privatisation (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Postal workers held a day of action in Northampton last Saturday to campaign for a publicly owned Royal Mail.

Shoppers queued to sign the petitions against privatisation, demonstrating how unpopular the measure would be.

At a rally afterwards Labour MP Kate Hoey said, “I was campaigning against privatisation in 1994 under the Tories and I am disappointed I have to be here again under a Labour government.

“We know that behind the scenes there are people who think privatisation is the way forward.

“We didn’t elect a Labour government to destroy public services, we elected it to defend them.

“Any share issue would open the door to full privatisation under a Tory government.”

CWU union general secretary Billy Hayes reported that the anti-privatisation campaign had won wide parliamentary support, but that more activity was needed.

He attacked the government for allowing full private competition in postal services in Britain while the rest of Europe was not doing it until 2009 at the earliest.

Post bosses demand savings

Royal Mail has announced to its workers that they must accept £370 million “savings” over the next 15 months—in addition to any “efficiency savings” from the introduction of new machinery. The figure was unveiled at a national briefing for union reps from all over Britain last week.

Royal Mail also said that any thought of postal workers receiving the national average wage was out of the question for now. Finally there were veiled threats to the right of postal workers to get their full pension at 60.

There was a strongly opposed response from union reps. When a manager said how stressful his job was, one worker shouted out that it was probably the strain of carrying his wallet!

With competition coming in and privatisation threatened, it’s urgent that the union steps up its campaign.

The CWU postal executive decided last week that if Royal Mail’s top boss Allan Leighton launches a ballot to show there is “support for a share issue” then the union will boycott it and run its own ballot on the effects of competition and privatisation.

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Sat 17 Dec 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1981
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