THE COMMUNICATION Workers Union (CWU) campaign to fight plans to close Gloucester Mail Centre has forced Royal Mail to abandon its proposal to move work from Gloucester to Swindon.
As John Ellis (CWU early morning shift rep) says: "Without doubt the aggressive campaign against the closure made a big difference, highlighting that Royal Mail's plans were ridiculous and that their figures just didn't add up."
In June 2006 thousands of postal workers from around the country and protesters marched through Gloucester in a show of force against Royal Mail's plans to save £60 million over 10 years by closing Gloucester and Reading mail centres, moving work to Swindon.
But this management climb-down has met with a cautious welcome from workers because Royal Mail's press release was vague. Gloucester Amalgamated CWU branch secretary Paul Trehearne explains: "We're not moving to Swindon, but Royal Mail's project manager wouldn't confirm or deny that Gloucester mail centre wouldn't go anywhere else. So the campaign continues to push Royal Mail to secure the necessary investment for Gloucester mail centre.'
Royal Mail still plans to close Coventry, Paddington and Reading mail centres, announced last year, but Oxfordshire has now replaced Gloucester on their target list. As Paul Trehearne says: "We know the difficulties that lie ahead for CWU members and activists in Oxfordshire, we offer them our full support and any assistance they require."
Royal Mail have made clear they plan not only the closure of mail centres but the destruction and privatisation of our postal service. The planned CWU strike action is absolutely vital in the battle to defend our public services.