Socialist Worker

Postal workers' massive vote for action to stop new franchises

Issue No. 2016

Post Office workers in Greater Manchester and South West Wales have voted overwhelmingly for strikes against closures and privatisation.

In Greater Manchester the vote was 70 percent in favour of industrial action in protest at continuing closures, job losses and a new franchise agreement with WHSmith.

Some 345 CWU union members in 27 Crown (directly managed) offices across the 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 WH Smith.

CWU 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.”

South West Wales just pipped the Manchester result by returning 72 percent in favour of action.

Some 92 workers from seven offices voted in response to management’s decision to close offices in Swansea and Llanelli and to franchise out the services of the Swansea office to WH Smith, affecting 41 jobs.

CWU rep Chris Roche said, “This result is significant as Post Office counter staff are not normally militant. Our members feel they have been forced to take this action as a last resort in order to make an unsympathetic employer aware of their objections.

“With the way that the Post Office is currently going it is hard to know where they will stop - will there be any Post Offices left in five years?”

It is important that these votes are turned into hard-hitting action which can focus workers’ anger and also the public mood against closures and franchising.

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Sat 2 Sep 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2016
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