Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/242/24888
Strike for the full claim: Support Postal Workers
THE POSTAL workers' union CWU is negotiating with Royal Mail management for a 5% pay rise. The negotiations are against the background of a 64% majority in favour of strike action. The Socialist spoke to a postal worker about the pay talks and the attacks on jobs and working conditions.
"There's a lot of public sympathy which could be utilised in our support. The union should link the threatened redundancies with the wage issue. Royal Mail just declare that people will be getting their mail late in the day and there's nothing to counter it. All the propaganda has been coming from Royal Mail with not much from the union. The business mail subsidises the 27p stamp, so if they sell that off, the cost to ordinary people is bound to go up.
Royal Mail has agreed a £300 a week basic wage by October 2003, but they don't offer any realistic way of getting it. That's why we're campaigning for 5%.
Strike days should be named now, utilising the big ballot majority. This would strengthen the hands of the union negotiators.
Some postal workers may believe that Royal Mail is losing so much money that they can't pay us. But if we accepted a low pay rise, Royal Mail would just take advantage, saving money by making redundancies. We don't want the 5% rise paid for by job losses.
The Post Office is a public service. We shouldn't be pandering to big business, ordinary people have as much right to their mail in the morning as big business. The service will also deteriorate if fewer postal workers are delivering bigger rounds, later in the day. We won't have as much contact with the public."
Consignia has warned the postal regulator Postcomm that the price of a first class stamp will have to rise from 27p to 40p when private companies are allowed to take over lucrative business post. Second class stamps would go from 19p to 30p.
The Socialist demands:
- End low pay and long working hours. For the full pay claim of a minimum wage of £300 for a 35-hour week.
- Stop the break-up and privatisation of the Post Office.
- Renationalise what has already been hived off and run the Post Office as an integrated public service under democratic workers' control and management.
- End all closures, redundancies and 'rationalisation'. Use improved technology to benefit postal workers and provide a better service.
In The Socialist 22 February 2002: