Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Defend a Universal Public Postal Service!

The demonstration this week by Postal workers against the proposed privatisation of parts of Britain's postal services was fully supported by the Green Party Trade Union Group and Green Left. The comments of Peter Mandelson, which postal trade unionists have described as blackmail, served to enflame feeling even more - a major revolt is in the offing on this issue, stretching even as far as my own (normally timid on most contentious issues) Labour MP.
Here is Green Lefts' Joseph Healy on the demo and rally.

The public is opposed to it and the mess which other privatisations such as rail have created stand as a grim warning. As a rebel Labour MP said today: "Privatisation is going out of fashion." It was MacMillan, the former Tory Prime Minister who warned during the Thatcher privatisations that the government was "selling off the family silver". Once again New Labour demonstrate that if necessary they will use Cameron's Tories to vote through this disastrous policy with the consequent loss of jobs and decrease in service. The public are opposed to it, as are the Green Party. Will the Lib Dems find their consciences or will they troop into the pro-privatisation lobby with Mandelson and Cameron?


The following informative e-mail has been distributed by a CWU branch secretary:

To all the owners of the Royal Mail,

(this means you, as it’s a publicly owned industry).

Do you realise what the government is trying to do to your Postal service and the effect it will have on your service?

In the 1980’s and early 90’s the Thatcher Government pulled off the greatest national con in history, they used Public money to advertise shares to the Public in nearly all the service industries that the Public already owned.
They justified this on the grounds that competition was good, would force the prices down while using shareholders money to improve the services concerned.

Well that worked didn’t it? We the taxpayers are still subsidising the “Private” Railway industry (while the shareholders still get a dividend), and I for one cannot think of any of the privatised industries that are cheaper or better than when they were Nationalised industries. In fact most of them have been allowed to put their prices up, way above the rate of inflation year on year ever since privatisation.

But in 1994 the Thatcher Government were soundly defeated in their attempt to privatise our Postal Service, the general consensus being, that it would not be in the Public interest.

In 1997 we voted in a new Government “New Labour” and although one of their Manifesto commitments was that they had “No plans to privatise the Postal Industry”

It seems that was exactly what they set out to do.

First step;-
The previous Government had allowed the Post Office to take a 13 year Pensions holiday ( because the pension fund was in surplus).

When New Labour got in one of the first things they did was to Tax pension funds.

Result — now a £5.9 Billion pension deficit, and climbing.

Second step;-
Open our Postal service to competition from the European Union, 3 years before they were supposed to, and by the way the rest of Europe baulked at doing it themselves, the new “target” for them is 2011.

Result - Now TNT, DHL, etc; are all over here taking our profit. But we cannot compete over there.

Third step;-
Appoint Alan Leighton as Chairman (a known privatiser, who lives in Canada and pays no tax on his salary or bonuses), who in turn appointed Crozier who came from messing up the F.A. and knows exactly that much about the Postal industry, but takes £2-3 million in salary and bonus per year out of the industry.

Result - Much later deliveries, thousands of town and rural sub offices closed, many Crown offices sold off to W.H.Smiths, (privatisation by any other name). Going from putting £500 million a year into the exchequer – to making a loss.



Fourth step;-
When the Postal staff went on strike because they had their Pension and attendance times changed by executive action, stand to lose 40-50 thousand jobs, their canteens have been closed, their Union ignored, their jobs made harder, are bullied and treated with contempt by managers.

The Government promise a Postal review, John Hutton M.P. oversees the Hooper review, the interim report looks favourable to the Unions viewpoint, the review is due to be published in October 2008, is not, John Hutton is moved sideways and Mandleson (a known privatiser) is made a lord and put in charge.

Result - The Hooper review reappears, much changed and recommending, …………partial privatisation, Mandleson says 49% sell off (mooted as probably TNT one of our European competitors, who we are not allowed to compete within their own market).

49% exactly what they sold off of B.T. (to start with)……But was soon fully private.

He has backed off a tad and now says a 30% sell off, after getting a drubbing on National television. But it’s a safe bet that the end game will be total privatisation.

Unlike Thatcher you may notice that New Labour have cut out the middle man (you), they do not intend to give the owners of the Post Office (you) the chance to have a say in how it is run, by holding shares.

What will this mean to your Postal Service?

Leighton, his cohorts and successor favour the Dutch system.

Which is, only handling letters which can be machine sorted down to walk order, can be packed into pouches which will then be delivered by part time workers (they envisage 84% of Postal delivery staff being part time by 2011).

The part time workers in Holland are mostly women who drop their children at school, pick up a pouch or so from the school and deliver the letters. (Royal Mail has already been talking to schools).

Other part time staff will collect the pouches from lock up garages etc; which means Royal Mail can also sell of the majority of Delivery offices.

So how far away will the new Delivery Processing office be from you if you have to collect something?, because you have the effrontery to be at work when delivery is attempted.

You may have noticed that there is no mention of packets, recorded, registered or any other special delivery service! Now what, I wonder will the 30 or 49% sell off consist of?

Surely not all the profit making products? And how much will they then go up by?

The hijacked Hooper report says that we are a loss making industry, compared to those of Europe!

It does not take into account that they are over here now taking our profit, nor does it stress that it may be because the European Postal industries charge up to three times the amount that we do, in their own countries!

So instead of the best and cheapest Postal service in the world (as it was a few short years ago), serviced by mostly friendly, honest, caring and helpful staff, which cost you the same to send an item 800 miles as it does to send it next door -

YOU WILL GET A SERVICE RUN FOR PRIVATE (FOREIGN) PROFIT.

(Zoned pricing has been mentioned)!

Your Posties will most likely lose their livelihood as well as getting a
reduced pension.

Who pays for poor pensioners or those out of work? YOU DO, THE TAX PAYER.

Pass the word.

Write to your M.P. Demand the Postal service that you deserve (because you
own it).

Also sign this <http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Royal-Mail-Sale/> petition - only 5900 have signed, it should be all voters.

We can give you the service you want and deserve !

Unless of course, Mandelson gets his way.

I apologise in advance if we have to go on strike to protect our jobs and your service, we don’t want to (it costs us money), but it is after all the only weapon we have left.

KEEP THE POST PUBLIC !

Please send this to all your e-mail contacts, - Friends and family.

Clive Marshall,

CWU, A.D.R. (T.W.)


There is a national march planned for March 14th in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands which I mentioned in my posting last week.

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