Postal workers yesterday condemned the Labour government and Royal Mail bosses for colluding to smash their union, and casualise and privatise the industry at a cost of tens of thousands of jobs.
A leaked Royal Mail document said its objectives are to ‘deliver the necessary 2009 changes with or without union agreement’ and to ‘show strikes don’t work’. It added: ‘A new relationship with our people is non-negotiable and will happen anyway, with or without union agreement.’
Business Secretary Mandelson told Newsnight on Thursday that ‘the strikes amount to a death wish by the union’. He warned that ‘Royal Mail is facing a very serious downward spiral. This is no way to compete by refusing to accept the necessary changes of working practices.’
London E3 Delivery Office Communication Workers Union (CWU) Unit Rep Vince Micaleff told News Line: ‘It doesn’t surprise us one bit. The government is sulking over its privatisation defeat. It is just out to crush our union.
‘It’s an utter disgrace that we continue to fund a party that is out to crush us. (CWU General Secretary) Billy Hayes has to ballot the membership on funding the Labour Party.’
In response to the Royal Mail bosses’ document, Micaleff added: ‘We need the strike action to escalate.
And we need to bring out other public sector unions because the document says it is out to crush us.
‘If they were to crush us it would be very dangerous. No other union would be safe. We should bring this government down and bring in a workers’ government – a government that represents workers and the working class.’
Paul Moffat, CWU Eastern Regional Secretary, told News Line: ‘It’s absolutely scandalous that they bring it out at this time. It’s obvious that there is collusion between the Royal Mail and the government and that they are out to destroy the cwu and postal services in the UK.
‘We want support from all other unions and public sector workers for us, because this is clearly another attack on public services and workers’ jobs, terms and conditions.
‘If the government and MPs fail to mediate, as major stakeholders, then this sends a clear message on the government’s view of the CWU and trade unions; therefore we should be calling for a suspension of funding to this Labour government.
‘After the 24-hour strikes on 23rd and 24th, we should then be upping our action to force the government’s hand and to highlight Royal Mail’s real agenda regarding future services and their workforce.’
John Simkins, CWU Substitute London Divisional Rep, said: ‘Mandelson has his sticky fingers all over this. It’s payback time for us beating him on the privatisation issue earlier this year.
‘Last night he seemed to know a lot of detail of the leaked document, while protesting that he hadn’t seen it. It’s a disgrace that this is a Labour government which is in cahoots with Royal Mail management to do the workforce in and break the union.
‘We will carry on striking, we won’t be put off by an unelected minister. The CWU should stop funding the Labour Party while the government is out to destroy our union and Royal Mail as a public service.
‘We need to carry on with rolling strikes in a way that effects Royal Mail most but with minimal effect on our members financially.
‘It’s plainly obvious that the government are involved at the highest level. Why isn’t the TUC and the other unions asking the question, where is this going?
‘If it can happen to us it can happen to any union. The trade union movement in Britain should be concentrating its efforts in confronting the government on this issue. This is not about modernisation, it’s about breaking the union and destroying the workforce.’