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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 April 2013

Defend Crown post offices

Leeds Socialist Party reporters

On 30 April around 15 pickets assembled outside St Johns Centre crown post office in Leeds as Communication Workers Union (CWU) members took strike action over plans to close or franchise 76 offices across the country, including Crossgates in Leeds, as well as opposing a pay freeze going on since 2011.

As CWU rep, Richard, explained to us the pay deal they are negotiating was due last April. Post Office management dragged their feet, finally offering an unconsolidated 1,000 lump sum with strings attacking terms and conditions, which was to last for three years - an insulting offer which has been rejected.

One of these terms was acceptance of the plans to close or turn into franchises 76 post offices, 20% of the crown post office network.

This is a continuation of plans in the direction of privatising postal services. In 1990, the Post Office's banking arm, Girobank was privatised, and since then aspects of Post Office and Royal Mail work (the entities were officially separated in 2012) have been opened up to competition.

This has undermined the service, particularly where companies have taken bulk contract work but rely on Royal Mail to take post 'the final mile', effectively subsidising private operators.

As elsewhere in the public sector, privatisation means a lower quality of service for customers, driving down of terms and conditions for staff and huge profits for their new owners at our expense. The postal service should be re-integrated, and run as a democratically controlled public service for the benefit of society with the profiteers kicked out now!

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