Posties like me are working ourselves to death. Enough is enough

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OPINION: I’ve been a Royal Mail worker for 30 years. Here’s why I’m going on strike

Original article republished from Open Democracy under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

Anonymous .

21 December 2022, 6.00am

Image of post office van next to postbox

On National Postal Workers Day 2022, a Royal Mail worker of more than 30 years’ service reflects on what 115,000 of his striking colleagues are fighting for – fair conditions, decent pay, dignity in the workplace and community spirit.

I’ve worked for the Royal Mail for more than three decades, and I can remember thousands of special moments.

You’re working with a special type of person, I’ve come to believe. My colleagues are people willing to go the extra mile. They’re funny and kind, thoughtful and creative. They know that the role they play – and the bond they have with the communities they serve – is unique. I couldn’t count the number of charity runs, fundraising concerts and special events that have been organised by my colleagues.

I remember the wartime stories the older boys could tell when I first started; more recently, I can remember the sacrifices we all made during the pandemic, when many of us died keeping the country connected.

Such proud moments can be reeled off by heart, but so can our problems. During festive periods, we are under serious pressure – but other types of stress are creating an incoming catastrophe. Under-recruitment has meant older workers do more while the next generation isn’t coming through to replenish the ranks, at least not where it matters.

Anecdotally, it’s not uncommon to hear of posties having heart attacks, sometimes fatal, on the job – the price of cutting corners. Ask any postal worker and they can tell you stories about ridiculously outdated toilet facilities, broken doors and seatbelts on delivery vans, and serious complaints getting ignored by managers who seem to think they know better.

Bosses and shareholders come first

The money is there to change all this, but it’s not going where it’s needed. In the last year, Royal Mail made £758m in profit and was able to hand out £400m to shareholders. Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson even gave himself an advance bonus of more than £140,000. But when it came to the workers who created that profit – and during a historic cost-of-living crisis – Royal Mail’s leadership pleaded poverty then offered us a pay rise of just 2%.

Through the Communication Workers Union (CWU), we voted by nearly 100% on nearly 80% turnout, twice, to strike. Instead of recognising the anger we almost unanimously felt, bosses announced they would withdraw from all existing legal agreements with the union and make moves that many fear could mean the derecognition of the union.

The CWU was even told by members that managers were threatening to dock pay if strikers called in sick. Bosses have been trying to humiliate us online, and have offered bonuses worth up to £30,000 to managers overseeing job cuts. After one strike day, the company said it was going to cut 10,000 jobs unless we packed it in.

Postal workers believe that, for Royal Mail bosses, the wrecking of your Christmas and my wellbeing is a worthwhile sacrifice to turn the company into a bog-standard, Uber-style delivery courier. There, old-fashioned things such as good conditions, decent pay and self-respect on the job can be easily binned, and casualised workers can work harder for less.

This country deserves better, as does its posties

These bosses aren’t people with roots in the industry, and they aren’t sympathetic to the connection it has to our communities: there’s no profit to be made in knocking on your nana’s door when it’s icy, to check on her.

I do my job because I love it. There are things that money can’t buy – like the laughs we gave kids and elderly people with the (frankly bizarre) costumes we tried on during the dark days of the pandemic – and knowing that you serve a wider community and play a useful role in people’s lives.

This is also why we’re on strike. In this country, a tiny number of well-connected people have been making astonishing wealth out of royally stuffing the rest of us for far too long. It feels like everything just gets worse day by day: our bills are sky high, our trains are wrecked, our rivers are filled with sewage, and rent for many is now becoming an existential crisis – and all because a tiny number of people have never had it better.

I, and 115,000 of my colleagues, don’t want to add to these problems by accepting the destruction of one of our few reliable national institutions. This country deserves better, as does its posties. I hope you can back us in our dispute this Christmas. 

Original article republished from Open Democracy under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

Continue ReadingPosties like me are working ourselves to death. Enough is enough

Postal strikes set to continue after union rejects ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ proposal from Royal Mail

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Image of back of postman and post sacks

POSTIES across Britain declared no confidence in Royal Mail boss Simon Thompson today as they prepare for more strike action over pay and working conditions later this week.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) told the Morning Star that every meeting of workers it had organised unanimously supported the informal motion and condemned the way the privatised company is being managed.

The move came after the union rejected a “take-it-or-leave-it” proposal from senior managers.

Continue ReadingPostal strikes set to continue after union rejects ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ proposal from Royal Mail

UK politics news

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A small selection of news articles about UK and international politics …

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Comment and analysis of recent UK politics events.

Image of a badger

Major Tory party donor chosen as chair of government nature watchdog

Like it says but apparently totally coincidental that an investment banker is appointed head of wildlife and nature watchdog, Natural England.

The appointment comes at a sensitive time for both Natural England and the government, which has had to defend itself from accusations from 41 conservation groups that only four of its 25 pledges on environment and nature are progressing well.

Bullingdon Tory idiot Boris Johnson

Tory Bullinger [edit: Bullingdon] idiot employs a cornflake analogy to promote the Tories’ genetic superiority of the ruling elite thesis

“Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16% of our species have an IQ below 85 while about 2% …” he said as he departed from the text of his speech to ask whether anyone in his City audience had a low IQ. To muted laughter he asked: “Over 16% anyone? Put up your hands.” He then resumed his speech to talk about the 2% who have an IQ above 130.

Johnson then told the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, which helped lay the basis for Thatcherism in the 1970s: “The harder you shake the pack the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.”

“… greed [is] a valuable spur to economic activity.”

Image of Royal Mail postboxRoyal Mail shares: Goldman Sachs sets price target of 610p

Goldman Sachs has risked a further escalation of the Royal Mail privatisation row by putting a price target on the shares of 610p despite telling the government that the business should be floated at 330p last month.

Analysts at Goldman said the postal group’s valuation should benefit from an increase in parcel deliveries, despite falling letter volumes.

The investment bank’s 12-month price target of 610p represents an 85% premium on the flotation price, and gave further ammunition to those critics of the privatisation who argue the government sold off Royal Mail too cheaply.


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Commentary and analysis of recent UK politics news.

I found Cameron’s joke quite amusing: “It’s fair to say he’s no longer a follower of Marx, he’s loving Engels instead.”


Vince Cable defends Royal Mail valuation as profit almost doubles

Image of Royal Mail postbox

The business secretary, Vince Cable, defended the government’s valuation of Royal Mail on Wednesday after solid results from the newly privatised group sent its shares even higher.

Royal Mail was privatised last month when the government sold 60% of its stake to investors in an initial public offering (IPO).

Royal Mail shares were up 5% by mid-morning on Wednesday to 559.5p – 70% higher than the flotation price of 330p. Its market value has increased by £2.3bn since the flotation, which valued Royal Mail at £3.3bn.

Operating profit for the six months ended 29 September was £283m, up from £144m a year earlier.

Comment: The case that tells us what kind of country Britain is

His name is Isa Muazu. He is wasting away.

Locked in a cell just outside Heathrow, out of sight from the holidaymakers and business visitors, he can no longer get up off his mattress. He has not eaten in over 90 days. He can no longer stand or see. He struggles to talk.

On Friday, at 8:00 am, he will be forcibly put on board a flight and sent to Lagos, where he says he will be targeted by Islamic terror group Boko Haram. He was due to be deported tonight, but the Home Office has ordered new removal directions. Needless to say, he will be even weaker on Friday.

In a decision which has no legal, medical or moral consistency given the ‘end of life’ plan, a Home Office doctor has branded Muazu ‘fit to fly’. Yesterday morning, independent doctors visited him as he lay on the mattress in the detention centre and decided the precise opposite. There is a strong chance this man will die when he is deported.


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