I stand in solidarity with the Royal Mail workers who have voted to go on strike in defence of their jobs, terms and conditions, and the future of the postal service. A staggering 97.1% of workers, on a 75.9% turnout, voted to take this brave stand.
Since the Royal Mail was disastrously privatised by the Coalition Government, the new owners have slowly been degrading the service and working conditions, whilst raking-in hefty profits.
Since privatisation, 100 delivery offices have closed, and 10,000 workers have lost their jobs. Meanwhile, Royal Mail has paid £1bn to private shareholders, and their current CEO, Rico Back, has received a £6m ‘golden handshake’ and a pay-packet of £2.7m.
Now, Royal Mail is planning to further renege on the promises that it made to its workers and the Government during the privatisation process. It plans to:
- Wriggle out of the 178 year-old commitment to a 6 day universal service, resulting in a reduced service for customers and significant job losses (a one day reduction would cost 20,000 jobs).
- Impose lower-paid, insecure, Amazon-style contracts on workers through outsourcing and legal finagling.
- Break up and sell-off parts of the Royal Mail in order to achieve the above point, leaving the ‘Royal Mail’ as a hollowed-out husk.
On top of this, the Royal Mail has completely failed in its commitment to tackle bullying of both managers and front-line workers.
Royal Mail has failed to take on board the rightful concerns of its workers and made this strike action inevitable. I support the workers in their struggle.
The Labour Party opposed this failed privatisation from the start and would reverse it. We should bring Royal Mail back into public ownership in order to protect this public service, postal workers, and the local communities that rely on the Royal Mail.
We would also re-unite the Post Office and Royal Mail, ending the managed decline of both services, and establish a ‘Post Bank’ within the Post Office, to deliver a new, brighter and broader, vision of community service.