Socialist Worker

Fighting post privatisation

Issue No. 2015

Workers protested in five areas across Britain last Saturday and handed out thousands of leaflets against plans to close post offices and transfer services to WHSmith stores.The CWU union is already balloting hundreds of workers for industrial action over the move.

Workers protested in five areas across Britain last Saturday and handed out thousands of leaflets against plans to close post offices and transfer services to WHSmith stores.The CWU union is already balloting hundreds of workers for industrial action over the move.

On Saturday campaigners urged shoppers to boycott the high street giant. Thousands of leaflets were handed out warning that staff will lose their jobs and be replaced by inexperienced employees on poverty wages.

The protests were staged in Swansea, Slough, Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne and Hammersmith in West London.

In Ashton-under-Lyne CWU rep Keiran Quinn said, “We had the local Labour MP and local councillors joining the protest.

“The public response has been magnificent. We got a fair few of the public to boycott WHSmith.”

The CWU has collected about 7,000 signatures against the plans from people in Ashton-under-Lyne.

The CWU says that WHSmith in Swansea was advertising the Post Office jobs for 10p an hour above the minimum wage.

The strike ballot results were to be announced this week. A strike can give the campaign a cutting edge, and would be popular with the public.

CWU Post Office staff in Greater Manchester have voted overwhelmingly with 69.7% in favour of industrial action in protest at continuing closures, job losses and a new franchise agreement with WHSmith.

345 members in 27 Crown (directly managed) offices across the Greater Manchester area were balloted in response to management’s decision to close offices in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Ashton-under-Lyne and Altrincham, Cheshire. The last two offices are due to be franchised to WHSmith.

CWU Territorial rep Kieran Quinn said: “This ballot result clearly shows the strength of feeling among our members. Our members are not prepared to stand aside and see their industry die, they are standing up to defend their jobs and the postal service.

“We will minimise the impact on customers of any action that we take as result of this ballot. Any adverse effects to customers will be due to management’s handling of the situation and not the legitimate protest of our members.”

CWU Assistant Secretary Andy Furey said: “These members have shown Post Office Ltd that closures, job losses and poor franchise agreements are unacceptable and will not be suffered lightly.

“POL and WHSmith should now seriously reconsider their position and learn to value the hardworking, long-serving front line staff who deliver first class postal services.”

The 92 members from seven Crown offices across the South West have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in response to the decision to close offices in Swansea and Llanelli. Some 72 percent voted in favour of action.


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News
Sat 26 Aug 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2015
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