Friday, 29 June 2007

Post strike solid

Picket lines in Oxford and Aylesbury reported that the postal strike was solid in Bucks and Oxon.

Postal workers have become increasingly disillusioned over the pay offer of 2 per cent, which effectively amounts to a pay cut, as inflation stands at 4.5 per cent and continues to rise. But the decision to take industrial action is more than about pay. Royal Mail wants to close 2,500 post offices and cut 40,000 jobs. It plans the destruction of the Post Office network, particularly in rural areas, and further privatisation of services, including handing over offices to WH Smith.

Royal Mail management had also been intimidating staff in the run-up to the strike ballot and threatening active trade union leaders. Respect completely opposes the attempt to decimate the postal service and believes that postal workers should be paid a decent wage because they provide a vital service.

For reports from around the country including Oxford see here

Monday, 25 June 2007

Why the post workers deserve support

by Oxford postal worker

The postal industry in this country is in the process of radical change. Driven by ideology and a worship of the market the New Labour Government has forced competition into the postal industry years in advance of the rest of Europe. In the name of profit the postal industry has been opened up to competition with destructive results for the service to the customer and for those employed by Royal Mail.

In the past the postal industry was cross-subsidised and paid for itself. Those parts that could make profit subsidised those that didn’t. When opening up the market New Labour ensured that those rich pickings would then be available to private companies such as TNT, DHL, etc. The profit would no longer serve the public but go to the Fat Cats of the private companies. With the flow of cash draining out of the public service this has meant round after round of cuts to the service.

In recent years we have seen the second delivery disappear forever. Local Post Offices have closed at an alarming rate and to such an extent that those that remain open have a queue that winds around the shop and out into the street. As well as increasing the cost of postage in recent years Royal Mail have also included further complications of size and weight to further baffle the customer. In Oxford the local delivery office in Headington has been closed ensuring that residences have to now travel around the ring road to Sandy Lane West to pick up a package. Or if they lack transport they now have to take two bus journeys each way. All this is supposedly to improve the service! How can moving a delivery office miles away from it’s delivery points create a better service? How can shutting Post Offices improve the service?

It was only in recent years that Alan Leighton and Adam Crozier (those presently running Royal Mail on behalf of the government) were shouting to the world how they had against all the odds turned the business around and into a quality service that was making large profits. There was so much money sloshing around that Adam Crozier even gave away a million pounds to the Olympic bid! Those days are now forgotten as we set for more cuts and the slashing of a public service. This year alone Royal Mail are looking for another 350 million pounds of cuts and a further 1.2 billion pounds in the next five years. It is hard to imagine what the postal service will be like in five years but if it continues in its present direction it does not look promising!

For those that work in Royal Mail it has meant that the job has consistently got harder and harder over the years. Yet Royal Mail believe that the massive redundancies in recent years is not enough and want a further 40,000 post workers to go. They also believe that the post workers that remain should pick up the slack caused by this shortage and do the work for a less than inflation pay rise. A pay cut! They believe we are over paid and under worked. They also wish us to take on more work but wish to take back the present payments for said work.

In reaction to this crisis the CWU have balloted all their members concerned nationally. The result was a massive YES vote that may yet make both Royal Mail and the Labour Government return to the table and see sense. Both the public and those employed in Royal Mail deserve better than what New Labour are delivering!!!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Brown coronation in Manchester

Oxford Respect members joined the Stop the War protest outside the Labour special conference in Manchester where Gordon Brown was appointed Labour leader.

Brown has stood shoulder to shoulder with Blair on the Iraq war and has made it clear that New Labours support for the Neo Conservative administration in the White house will continue.

BBQ Success

Thats to everybody who helped with the BBQ last Saturday. Look out for details of forthcoming events on the blog.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Oxford Respect- Branch Meeting this Tuesday (19th June)

The next Oxford Respect branch meeting will be this Tuesday 19th June, 7.30pm in the Town Hall. There will be a talk on 'Will Brown be better than Blair?".

Peers School- "Trust us" say sponsors

After two of the four consultation meetings being held by consultants Mouchel Parkman it is clear that many important details regarding the proposed Academy at Peers School have not been decided, which begs the question what exactly are local residents, teachers and parents being consulted on?

For example the design and extent of the new buildings, the land to be put in Trust, the format of the sponsor appointed governing body, the extent to which existing educational law will be adhered too, the role of the local authority in the running of the school and the list goes on.

By the second meeting the panel had moved away from purely warm words about the educational potential of local children to accepting that many Academies around the country had been disasters but claiming that despite this they should be trusted in this instance.

The final consultation meetings are June 18th , 4.30-6.30pm at Peers School and June 19th 3.30-5.30pm Pegasus School.

The Mouchel Parkman feedback form can be found here: