Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/554/6553
Postal workers march for their jobs
Demonstration in support of the Burslem 12 victimised postal workers, photo Stoke Socialist Party
AROUND 1,000 postal workers, their families and supporters, defied the wind and rain to march through Crewe on 25 October. They were determined to stop Crewe's mail centre closing. 600 jobs are under threat if it goes and people in Crewe are angry at another kick in the teeth from Royal Mail and the government.
Andy Bentley, Stoke Socialist Party
The government can fund billions of pounds of our money to bail out the big bankers but workers are already paying the price with their jobs. Born-again hatchet man Peter Mandelson has called for the part-privatisation of postal services, which would include the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.
It was Mandelson, at that time New Labour's trade and industry secretary, along with Gordon Brown, then chancellor, who in 1998 played a key role in New Labour's plans to privatise postal services.
By 2000 the Postal Services Act, unopposed by Tories or Lib Dems, was passed to force the 'opening up' of our postal services. This covered mainly Royal Mail sorting and delivery depots, the post office network and Parcelforce.
Crewe postal workers and supporters have already handed over a 10,000-name petition to 10 Downing Street. Stoke Socialist Party members collected another 2,000 names calling for an "end to private sector leeching off postal services" and for the mail centre to be kept open in Crewe.
But Crewe is not the only depot under threat. Royal Mail announced its closure along with nine others across the country. Postal workers' union, the CWU, has already said it will ballot for strike action. This ballot needs to be carried out as soon as possible and a nationwide campaign conducted by the union to build support for action to defend these jobs, depots and services.
Stoke Socialist Party members helped to build for the march by giving out leaflets and collecting names on the petition in Crewe for three hours on 24 October.
On Saturday we joined the march and collected names whilst it was going on. Over the two days, many hundreds more signed the petition and 250 copies of The Socialist were sold. There is massive support for the struggle of Crewe postal workers.
The CWU needs to link any action taken by postal workers to local communities who will overwhelmingly support their struggle to defend their jobs and postal services.
THE POST Office business, which made a £28 million profit in the six months to September, could see a further 3,000 out of the remaining 12,500 branches closed if the government does not extend the post office card account contract (allowing pensions and benefits to be paid through post offices) beyond 2010.
Royal Mail's profits are largely due to squeezing their workforce's pay and conditions. Despite a lengthy industrial dispute in 2007, Royal Mail bosses were able to secure a below-inflation pay rise tied to more flexible working arrangements and the scrapping of the final salary pension scheme.
In The Socialist 29 October 2008:
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis