OUTSIDE Holloway Road Post Office yesterday pickets striking for the 13th time drew huge support from the public in opposition to the scandal of the privatisation of 70 Crown Post Offices.
The striking Post Office staff said: ‘We are absolutely determined to defend this vital service’.
Sandra Jolly told News Line: ‘We all love working for the Post Office and we can’t believe how the workforce is being treated.
‘If they sell the Post Office to Tesco, we will keep our terms and conditions for a while, but after so long, they will make a business case that they can’t afford us.
‘These one-day strikes are not defending our jobs. The post office managers can cope, if we just have one-day strikes.
‘They can bring in management to do our work for one day, but if we all came out for a week it would be different.
‘We can’t give in to them now because they will change our working terms and conditions.
‘They would think they had a mandate to make these cuts, if we were not striking.’
Helen Shannon said: ‘We are one out of 70 Post Offices that the government and Post Office management want to franchise out, 35 in this financial year and 35 in the next.
‘A lot of customers rely on us for help every day – things like making phone calls or reading letters for them.
‘We cannot allow these cuts and closures.
‘The firefighters are striking, the teachers are out tomorrow, the Post Office and Royal Mail are all coming out.
‘We should all be coming out together and the TUC should be organising it.’
Away from the Holloway Road picket line, Geoff Poole, CWU Territorial Representative, told New Line: ‘This is the 13th day of strike action.
‘We are striking against the sell off/privatisation of 70 Crown Post offices and six others to be closed.
‘We have found out under the Freedom of Information act that PO management gave themselves bonuses of £15.4 million last year, whereas we are seeking a two-year pay deal which would cost less than £6 million.
‘The strike vote was close to a 90 per cent yes vote on a very high turnout.
‘The action has been very well supported.’
Simon Johnson, Local CWU Area Rep said on the picket line: ‘At some stage our Royal Mail colleagues will be balloted for their own reasons and our strategy needs to be linked with them’.
MP Jeremy Corbyn was on the picket line, supporting the striking post office workers. Asked about the statement of Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Uminna, that Labour ‘would not renationalise the Post Office if elected’, Corbyn said: ‘Chuka is wrong. Public ownership is the way forward’.
• THE CWU postal workers’ union yesterday issued a statement in response to Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umanna’s announcement that a future Labour government will not renationalise Royal Mail.
The union had moved resolutions, which were passed unanimously at both the TUC and Labour Party Conferences, opposing the privatisation of Royal Mail and demanding that a future Labour government renationalise it.
Yesterday’s union statement completely dodged the issue.
It read: ‘CWU welcome Labour’s comments on the future of labour and call on the current government to match those same commitments. We want to see Labour go further and commit to full re-nationalisation in line with the unanimous decision of Labour conference.’
Rob Bolton, a Hertfordshire CWU rep, commented to News Line: ‘This national union statement is nonsense.
‘Labour has just stabbed us in the back right at the moment that the industry will be privatised by October 15th.
‘We must fight this privatisation, especially since Labour has confirmed that it has rejected our conference resolutions.
‘The union must immediately call strike action. We must demand that the TUC joins this action since it’s on record as saying that it will support our struggle.
‘We must urge all Labour Party members to join our fight. The Royal Mail belongs to the people of this country and cannot be allowed to get into the grip of the profiteers of privatisation.’
This is in defiance of last week’s Labour Party Annual Conference unanimous vote to commit the party to renationalisation.
Jim Kirwan, Communication Workers Union London Regional Secretary told News Line yesterday: ‘The Labour Party front bench is out of touch with reality.
‘Our resolution that calls for renationalisation, was passed unanimously at the Labour Party Conference last week and it must be adhered to.
‘No-one wants privatisation. I went to Twickenham recently, where we campaigned against privatisation and hundreds of Vince Cable’s constituents signed against privatisation.
‘The idea that privatisation is popular is nonsense. Our ballot is making progress and every indication is that we are going to get a massive yes vote and when we get that there will be strike action.
‘Privatisation of Royal Mail will mean the loss of our terms and conditions.’