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From: Notebook, 19 June 2013: Brief articles and notes on the Socialist Party website

Search site for keywords: Royal Mail - Privatisation - Postal workers - CWU

Postal workers condemn privatisation

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has today (Wednesday) announced the result of its consultative ballot which closed yesterday.

Ballot papers were distributed to 112,000 postal workers in Royal Mail (not the Post Office or Parcelforce) asking four questions.

The results, on a 74% turnout, are:
Q1: Do you oppose the privatisation of Royal Mail? YES 96%
Q2: Do you support the boycott of competitors' mail?
YES 92%
Q3: Do you support the CWU Pay claim? YES 99%
Q4: Do you support the policy of non-cooperation? YES 92%

Ballot papers were collected, counted and verified by independent scrutineer Popularis.

Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: "No-one has yet asked postal workers what they think about privatisation.

"Today postal workers have spoken loud and clear with a massive 96% roundly rejecting the government's plans to privatise Royal Mail.

"The workforce does not support the government or Royal Mail on selling the company. This company is flourishing in public ownership as the recent doubling of profits proves.

"It's becoming less clear what this policy is about. Why privatise this profitable company?

"Today's ballot result shows we have resounding support for all the union's policies. This is a strong message to take forward action in each area to improve the working lives of postal workers and protect the services and jobs which customers and communities value."

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: "This ballot result is a damning rejection of the tired old government privatisation policy and the actions of the Royal Mail board in support of this.

"Postal workers have worked incredibly hard to turn the fortunes of the company around. Royal Mail is not a financial basket case and they know privatisation is only benefitting vested interests.

"Postal workers are not going to sacrifice their souls for a so-called 10% stake when they know their jobs, pensions and conditions are once again under threat.

"The government and Royal Mail have completely alienated the workforce and it's time for serious negotiations to find a solution that really can align the interests of workers, customers and the company. If not, then prolonged industrial conflict is inevitable.

"On a mail boycott, Royal Mail workers have shown they understand the threat to the universal service from unfair competition and the race to the bottom on their own terms and conditions.

"The way competition is being introduced does not benefit customers, small businesses or postal workers in whatever company they work for."

CWU response to the ballot result in more detail:

Q1: Privatisation

Royal Mail isn't a financial basket case; it's not a burden on the state and doesn't take any grants.

Selling the company only benefits those with vested interests. Privatisation is about taking profits out and not reinvesting in the service.

Royal Mail is successful in public ownership and is modernising. There is no need for privatisation to secure access to capital.

Network Rail - also a public body - has borrowed billions on private capital markets without it adding to the public debt or causing the government to "choose between funding hospital and schools" or the business, as it has claimed in respect to Royal Mail.

Q2: Mail boycott

Ofcom and Royal Mail have no strategy for dealing with the threat that end to end competition poses to the universal service.

The government and Ofcom need to act to address the rigged competition system which threatens to destabilise the universal service.

This is made more urgent given TNT's announcement yesterday that they are expanding their street deliveries in SW London and intend to create 20,000 jobs.

They will only do this by paying low wages and by pulling work from Royal Mail which will destabilise the company's ability to deliver post to all addresses - rural and urban.

TNT is being allowed to deliver what they want, where they want and when they want with no quality of service standards.

They are being allowed to get away with this by a government and regulator which either don't understand or don't care about the postal service.

Q3: Pay

A pay rise for Royal Mail workers was due on the 1st April 2013. The CWU has set out clearly what we want - an above-inflation two-year pay deal to ensure the workforce is fairly rewarded for their hard work in contributing to the success of the business, which includes recent profits in excess of 400 million.

Q4: Workplace issues and non-cooperation

The workforce has supported difficult change and over the last three years has successfully turned the fortunes of the company around.

This has been with, not despite of, the workforce. Now, because of privatisation, we're seeing unrealistic budget cuts which are putting too much pressure on postal workers in many workplaces.

Next steps

The union's postal executive will meet in the near future to decide how we will take all these issues forwards.

(All from a CWU press release)





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