National strike action to defend the Royal Mail and its workforce

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The Communication Workers Union (CWU) yesterday warned that Royal Mail were planning sacking between eight and twenty per cent of the workforce, with London taking the heaviest cull.

The union stated that the service was under threat and that staff would be downgraded to being a part time workforce.

Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary, said: ‘Royal Mail needs to reach an agreement with us over modernisation. This is no way to deal with change.’

Martin Walsh, revealed: ‘We’re balloting our members across London for strike action to fight these cuts. There are 1,600 jobs at stake in London. Royal Mail is profitable but the recession means our members would find it hard to get other work so we’ll fight these savage attacks on our industry.’

He concluded that the London ‘timetable for industrial action will be finalised this week’.

Earlier in the week the CWU condemned Royal Mail for declaring that it intended to impose a wage freeze (wage cut) on the workforce.

Dave Ward remarked that ‘Royal Mail posted its best financial results for years in December and out-performed all of its financial targets. Rewarding staff with a pay freeze is appalling.’

He added: ‘The people who run Royal Mail have again misjudged an important decision. For Britain’s highest-paid civil servant to impose a pay freeze on workers who earn less than the UK average wage is outrageous. This inequality will lead to strife. . . Now this is a three-fold attack on services, jobs and terms and conditions which makes industrial conflict inevitable. The company must reconsider.’

This avalanche of job cuts, wage cuts and pension cuts comes right at the time when the Brown-Mandelson Labour government is determined to privatise the Royal Mail.

This taken together with up to 20 per cent job cuts equals the end of the Royal Mail as a service.

The breaking of a Labour government election manifesto pledge to the postal workers, comes hot on the heels of the ending of the Royal Mail’s final salary scheme which is going to cost workers thousands of pounds in lost pension payments.

The issue is not just that industrial action and strife is inevitable. The issue is that this fast approaching battle must be won and the jobs, wages, pensions and the nationalised industry as a whole must be secured.

This means that London must not be left to fight alone. The whole of the Royal Mail must be brought out to take on and smash this frontal attack on the industry by the government, the bankers and the bosses.

There must also be an immediate approach to the PCS, UNISON and all of the other public sector trade unions who are going to be slashed by £15bn of flexibility measures as Darling made clear in his budget. They must take strike action alongside the postal workers.

The matter does not end there, however.

Yesterday the Daily Telegraph revealed that ‘Almost 70 per cent of British businesses plan to freeze or cut wages this year, and half expect to cut jobs and make staff redundant’.

The figure comes from a poll of 400 companies by the British Chamber of Commerce Monthly Business Survey.

About four in every 10 companies said they would consider making redundancies over the next six months and 12 per cent said job cuts were certain.

The CWU must call for an emergency meeting of the TUC General Council to review and take action over this situation.

The TUC must be made to call a general strike to stop the job cutting, and the wage cutting and the privatising by bringing down the Brown government and by bringing in a workers government that will carry out socialist policies and bring in socialism.