FOLLOWING instructions from the government’s Cabinet Office to government departments to put their mail out to tender to get the best cutthroat deal, the Department for Work and Pensions has done just that, robbing the Royal Mail of £12 million of business.
This is the Department run by the notorious John Hutton. He recently told the unemployed that they would have to compete in the slave labour market with migrant workers for the available jobs, otherwise they would lose their benefits and starve.
His department is to hand over its mail to the privateer UK Mail. It will sort 82 million pension and winter fuel statements before handing over the mail to the Royal Mail for delivery.
UK Mail is only interested in handling the profitable part of the business, the rest is to be done by Royal Mail.
Other government departments are expected to follow the example of the Ministry for Work and Pensions, tightening the privatisation noose around the neck of the Royal Mail, pushing it towards large scale redundancies, and the replacement of its trade union organised workforce with non-union casual contract labour.
In fact HM Revenue and Customs is already being mentioned as the next government department that will be acting on the Cabinet Office’s advice.
The attitude of the CWU leadership to this blatant anti-union government sponsored privatisation drive is completely cowardly. It is that since the government directive is legal, as is the operation of the privatising UK Mail , that nothing can be done about it.
Yesterday, all the the CWU head office had to say was to urge the government not to make rash decisions and to invest in the Royal Mail. This will have the Blairite privatisers quaking in their boots!
UK Mail must be laughing all of the way to the bank since it already handles a similar contract for the Royal Bank of Scotland and already handles over five per cent of the total annual UK mail.
The CWU London Regional Secretary John Denton was more to the point. He said: ‘The DWP is the leading government department in destroying the Post Office, they made pensioners put their pensions through a bank.’
This was followed up by the drive to shut down 2,500 Post Offices.
Denton added: ‘Until you get rid of New Labour, this nonsense will continue.’
In fact this ‘nonsense’ is leading to the complete destruction of the Post Office and the Royal Mail, handing all of its profitable functions over to the privateers and casualising the rest, losing over 100,000 jobs.
The fact that this massive destruction of jobs is being carried out after legislation has been passed in parliament, does not mean that the working class has got to march over the edge of the abyss like lemmings.
The defence of jobs, wages and basic rights is higher than any bourgeois law. Illegal and massive strike action to save over 100,000 jobs is entirely right and necessary, whereas union leaders obeying reactionary laws and accepting the end of over 100,000 jobs is despicable and unforgivable.
The trade unionists of the CWU must get rid of their reformist leaders while they still have jobs to defend.
These misleaders must be replaced by a new revolutionary leadership in the trade unions that will see the defence of its members’ jobs as their highest duty, and in persuance of that duty will not hesitate to order massive strike action to defeat the privateers and bring down the Blair-Brown government.
In fact the CWU must form a public sector trade union alliance for this purpose. This is the only way forward.