PO-ROYAL MAIL SPLIT – threatens tens of thousands of jobs

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Royal Mail workers out on strike against privatisation at East London Mail Centre
Royal Mail workers out on strike against privatisation at East London Mail Centre

‘We must demand the TUC call a General Strike to defend public services, because that is what Royal Mail is,’ leading postal workers’ union rep, Rob Bolton said yesterday.

He was responding to the Coalition government’s announcement of the separation of the Post Office and Royal Mail from April 1st.

In his CWU statement, postal workers leader Billy Hayes acknowledged: ‘This announcement paves the way for the end of the Post Office as we know it.

‘It’s the end of an era and an unprecedented step by the government – we’re not aware of any other country which has severed the retail post office network away from the main mails, deliveries and logistics part of the business.’

He warned: ‘The new “Locals” model is something which most customers and postmasters would argue does not represent progress as it, in fact, reduces access to services.’

Hayes concluded: ‘While little material difference will be felt today, from the separation date of April 1st, Post Office staff will have questions and concerns about their job security and the protection of the their pay, pensions and employee benefits.’

Rob Bolton, Delivery Rep South Central No1 CWU, added: ‘The Tory-LibDems’ announcement that they are going to separate the Post Office from Royal Mail is yet another nail in the coffin of Royal Mail.

‘The promise to retain a commercial agreement for 10 years is a sop to the CWU leadership who can claim that it was their lobbying that persuaded the government to accept it.

‘In reality, for the time being there is no alternative to using Royal Mail.

‘The whole agenda of separation is to make The Post Office more attractive for privatisation, and in the meantime Royal Mail will continue to provide services for The Post Office.

‘Royal Mail is being broken up piece by piece. No workers in Royal Mail are under any other illusion, than this is another attack on them and their union.

‘CWU leaders Hayes and Ward should issue a call to all public sector Trade Unions to defend all services and not allow them to be broken up and sold off piecemeal.’

All Trades Unions Alliance (ATUA) National Secretary Dave Wiltshire said: ‘Separation of the Post Office from the Royal Mail spells the end of the Post Office.

‘The Postal Service Act, passed in June last year, has provision for 90 per cent of Royal Mail to be sold into private ownership and for the Post Office to continue to be owned by the Crown or a “mutual ownership structure”.

‘What this act has meant is Royal Mail will be flogged off to the privateers because it’s possible to make a profit out of it by screwing down wages and drastically cutting back on universal service provision.

‘But for the Post Office, as far as the government is concerned, it is making a loss and not even the privateers would be interested in it.

‘So by separating the two, they’re preparing the ground for implementing the complete privatisation of Royal Mail with thousands of jobs going and the wholesale destruction of post offices.

‘The only way forward for postal workers now is to demand that their union join with every other union in calling for a general strike to bring down this government and to replace it with a workers government that will bring back the integrated postal and telecommunications system.

‘That’s the only way to stop privatisation and job losses.