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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 June 2007

Defend the postal service

Stoke: Anger at postal privatisation

ON 4 June the fight to save Hanley post office was taken into WH Smith in the Potteries Shopping Centre, Stoke-on-Trent. Organised by North Staffs Pensioners Convention, more than 100 people marched to the store, many holding Stoke Socialist Party posters calling for a boycott of WH Smith.

Andy Bentley

Protesters were angry that Hanley post office, which has provided a public service for over 100 years, is to be moved to WH Smith so the store can increase its profits - 58 million pre-tax profits already announced this year.

Outside the post office, Andy Day of the Pensioners Convention told demonstrators: "This is the REAL post office, now we're going to march to the PRETEND post office at WH Smith".

At Potteries Shopping Centre the centre manager, Paul Lancaster, flanked by security guards, warned us of the safety dangers of 100 people entering the centre at the same time. "You will have to enter in small groups", he said.

I shouted to him, "will you tell the thousands that enter the shopping centre every Saturday the same thing?"

Outside WH Smith we again met Paul Lancaster, security guards and Community Police officers! Mr Lancaster said we'd only be let in ten at a time to prevent safety problems inside the store.

But WH Smith says it can deal with the extra 1,400 customers who use Hanley post office every day!

"We'll probably have to make appointments to get served in WH Smith in future", someone shouted.

Andy Day thanked Mr Lancaster for "proving our point better than we could ever have done ourselves".

The stressed-out manager of WH Smith could not tell us how many serving positions they planned to provide for post office customers.

Post office leaflets told customers that "eleven serving positions" would be available. "It hasn't yet been decided", she said. So, the post office claim on their leaflet is not true.

This leaflet also says: "The decision to transfer a post office branch to a franchise partner is a commercial decision to be taken solely by Post Office Ltd and is, therefore, not subject to public debate or consent".

"A commercial decision" means Hanley post office is to close to save money for Post Office Ltd's fat cat bosses and to let WH Smith increase their profits.

Customers will gain nothing and lose a lot. Neither the post office nor WH Smith are really interested in what ordinary working people have to say. Their publicity campaigns are a sham!

But our protest showed that these fat cats' arrogance will not be tolerated in Stoke. People are incensed at the threat to Hanley post office and the fight to save it will increase in the months ahead.

Until this unwanted transfer of post office services is stopped, more and more people in the city will never again shop at WH Smith.

Go to www.stokesocialistparty.org.uk to sign the on-line petition, download copies of the petition and poster/leaflet and join Stoke Socialist Party!
Over 5,000 people have signed the Stoke Socialist Party petition calling for:

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 14 June 2007:

Fight for a living wage

No to attacks on pay and conditions: leaflet

Come to the National Shop Stewards Network Founding Conference

Founding Conference of the National Shop Stewards Network

Stoke: Anger at postal privatisation


Unison national conference

Fight attacks on the public sector

Members' discontent strengthens left in UNISON elections

Campaign For A New Workers' Party public meeting

Swansea workers fight privatisation

Merger with GMB?


What we think

United public sector struggle needed


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fresh wave of protest in NHS

Labour climbs down in Wales - but for how long?

Coventry - Anger at NHS redundancy threat

Durham hospitals jobs threat

Prescription for profit

Stem cell potential to break medicine bottleneck


War and terrorism

Stop The War Coalition - demonstration

Anti-Bush day in Italy - A tale of two protests


G8 Summit protests

What did the G8 summit achieve?

G8 protests: Determination wins through


International socialist news and analysis

Boycotts of Israel: Will they help the Palestinians?

Western hypocrisy over 'democracy' utilised by Putin


Socialist Party news and analysis

Oil, profits, sleaze and hypocrisy

How Mittal makes millions

Bosses' bonuses

Amicus conference: Unite and New Labour


 

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