Postal strike: they need to fear us

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17 July 2007

Postal workers took 24-hour strike action for the second time, last Thursday/Friday. The national media might not have thought this worthy of much comment, but nobody got any mail delivered - so everyone knew about it anyway. And in fact, by all accounts, even more postal workers were out this time than last time.

This is not surprising. In the last decade - under the Labour government - attacks against postal jobs and conditions to prepare for privatisation have accelerated. The appointment by Brown and Blair of the likes of Alan Leighton and his "Board" to run Royal Mail - or rather run it down, so that the private sector could take advantage - said it all.

Today, opportunistic private sector bosses are to be found everywhere in the public sector, busy trying to rub out any trace of the idea that public service is socially necessary and therefore must be retained, valued and rewarded! How else would they justify the wholesale gift to private sharks of great chunks of London Underground, the NHS, schools and universities, etc., and the post?

No doubt it was also assumed that Leighton's thuggish reputation would help to "discipline" a workforce which was known to be combative - thanks to the frequent and effective wildcat strikes which have taken place over the past many years! Certainly these unofficial strikes forced the government to be a lot more cautious over their attacks against the workforce.

However, the fact is that Brown and Leighton now think they can get away with their destructive plans for the post office. So much so, that Leighton seems far more preoccupied with his future career as a private magnate - preparing for when his Postal contract ends next year - judging from his wheeling and dealing over BHS stores these last few weeks.

In other words, Brown and his Royal Mail gang do not seem to have got the message yet. So how can postal workers' voice be made louder? One way is obvious - by adding more voices. But at the end of the day, our successes can only be turned into victories if the bosses fear the possibility of a lot more real and determined fights to come!