Thursday, October 05, 2006

Royal Mail Closures

Royal Mail is proposing to close three major mail centres at Reading, Gloucester and Coventry. This would probably involve compulsory redundancies. From an environmental point of view this is a lunacy since it would mean mail from the three centres being sent to Swindon, Bristol and Northampton and then back.

The CWU isopposing the closures. Swindon Trades Union Council has written to the CWU expressing its support for them. Our letter is reproduced below.

To the CWU

Dear Comrades

Swindon Trades Union Council at its meeting yesterday discussed the proposed closure of Royal Mail centres at Reading, Gloucester and Coventry. As the ‘receiving’ town with the prospect of extra jobs we could take a selfish point of view. However, that would be completely unprincipled, at the expense of workers losing their jobs in three centres.

Moreover, from an environmental point of view, the idea of workers and mail travelling from Reading to Swindon (and back), Gloucester to Bristol, and Coventry to Northampton, is sheer lunacy, adding to environmental pollution at a time when we are supposed to be tackling the problem of global warming. I have already spoken to some people in the green/environmental movement who will support your opposition to the closures.

Undoubtedly, this proposal of Royal Mail is related to the liberalisation of the postal ‘market’ which the government has seen fit to push through. It is a cost-cutting measure which is directed at ‘shaping up to meet the competition’. This so-called commercial environment is, of course, a threat to the universal service obligation and the Post Office as a public service. Whilst liberalisation originates from the European Union it fits neatly with the government’s free market fundamentalism which has led it to introduce a ‘market’ in the NHS and privatisation and cuts throughout the public sector.

Obviously you will be discussing an industrial response to the threat of closure and of compulsory redundancies. We would like to offer our support in the wider public campaigning against these proposals which are socially and environmentally retrograde. Please let us know anything which you would want us to do in support of your struggle.

We will contact the Trades Councils in Bristol and Northampton, the other towns where distribution will be centralised and suggest we produce a joint statement, in support of the CWU and against the closures.


Martin Wicks
Secretary, Swindon Trades Union Council


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