Postal workers yesterday reacted angrily to Business Secretary Lord Mandelson’s threat to their jobs and pensions if they did not give up their opposition to Royal Mail privatisation.
Commenting on Mandelson’s claims made in the Observer newspaper, Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) North Wales, Northwest Divisional Rep Ian Taylor told News Line: ‘It’s a fraudulent position.
‘It’s a profitable company. What Mandelson is doing is scaremongering, exactly what he’s accusing the unions of.
‘The government knows there is a solution that doesn’t involve private investment and doesn’t involve a constant bailout from taxpayers.
‘The union’s position is clear. We are going to resist privatisation by every means.’
Southeast London CWU rep Billy Colvill said: ‘We have to take action to defend our jobs and pensions.
‘Mandelson is putting a spin on it.
‘The fact is, if we do accept privatisation we will be in danger of losing our jobs and pensions, not the other way round.
‘Mandelson has torn up the Labour manifesto pledge to keep Royal Mail public.
‘He has no democratic mandate to push the privatisation.
‘He is acting for the bosses and the bankers.’
Asked what the CWU should do, Colvill added: ‘The reality is the threat from our leadership to ballot us to disaffiliate from the Labour Party has been treated with contempt by Brown and Mandelson.
‘But it isn’t just CWU members, but working class and middle class people who are against the privatisation.
‘This was reflected at the public meeting last week against the privatisation Royal Mail.
‘There, the CWU deputy general secretary said the union would take strike action if necessary.
‘The meeting included leaders of other trade unions representing 2.5 million members.
‘These leaders pledged their support for the CWU if we were to take strike action.
‘They, and the CWU leaders, have to live up to their words or resign.’
Rob Bolton, Chairman CWU South Central no1 HP Section, added: ‘Mandelson with the support of Brown has made perfectly clear in the interview in The Observer that they are going to proceed with the sell off of Royal Mail.
‘If necessary, they will use the support of the Tories to get the legislation through parliament.
‘This shows what they think of the Labour Party and Trade Unions.
‘As far as Brown is concerned, the bankers can have as much money as they want to keep going, but when postal workers and their families are having their jobs threatened and their pensions robbed, the only answer of Mandelson and Brown is to privatise Royal Mail.
‘It seems that they are prepared to split the Labour Party in order to get the legislation through.
‘No amount of talk is going to persuade Mandelson and Brown not to go ahead with the sell off.
‘The only answer to this onslaught on the jobs and pensions of postal workers is to bring this anti-working class government down.
‘We need a general strike to defend our industry. Not just postal workers, but all workers today have no future under capitalism.
‘The only way workers can defend their jobs and pensions is by replacing bankrupt capitalism with socialism.
‘Our union leaders, Hayes and Ward, still think there can be some sort of compromise on this, and despite their rhetoric are unable to break with the Labour leadership and lead a fight against this bankers’ government.
‘This is a life and death struggle for postal workers. In this struggle we need new leaders who are prepared to fight the whole way.
‘Anything less will see the loss of thousands of jobs and the casualisation of Royal Mail.’