Friday, 28 September 2007

Respect vows to fight mail centre closure threat

Respect members vowed to fight the proposed closure of the Oxford mail centre at the recent Oxford Respect Annual General meeting. The mail centre is being targeted in order to penalise post workers who have taken industrial action over bullying and victimisation of union reps. The closure of the centre could mean the the loss of nearly 450 jobs from east Oxford.

Below a union rep from CWU South Central No 1 branch (pc) sets out some of the background to this battle.

In a clear case of “If you can’t beat ‘em, close ‘em”, Royal Mail announced the proposed closure of Oxford mail centre in 2009 – with the loss of up to 430 jobs – just hours after the CWU union announced further national strike action.

Oxford is one of the best union organised and most union-minded mail centres in the country.
It has a reputation for standing up for its members, and showing solidarity to others.
Managers told us of the closure plans during worktime learning sessions, without consulting the union beforehand.

We were informed that the proposed closure was a result of Oxford’s deteriorating quality, low efficiency and high running costs.

That was news to us, as we had previously been told that all our targets were being met, and that standards set by the regulator for first and second class mail were all within “desired quality of service levels”.

There was no kneejerk reaction by our members in response to the closure announcement.
We are convinced that this is the latest attempt to provoke unofficial action at Oxford – and therefore justify the company’s attacks on us in the media.

When the national union started its current campaign, we knew it was not only about pay, pensions, working conditions, and our hard fought for terms.

We knew that mail centre closures were going to be an issue nationally too.
That’s why CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward is absolutely correct to write, “This announcement was in direct conflict to the existing national agreement, which deals with mail centre structure.

“The union will be insisting that the national agreement is honoured.”
We all know the company wants 40,000 jobs to go.

That means the issue can never be just about one mail centre, but must be all of us together in a battle to protect all our jobs.

The battle to save the threatened mail centres has rightly become part of the national dispute.
Royal Mail scare tactics are an integral part of its attempts to intimidate us.

It believes that by isolating parts of the workforce, it can then ruin the national dispute and break the union.

But rather than weaken resolve, our determination to fight back as part of our national union has only grown stronger.

(Repoduced from Socialist Worker)

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Oxford Anti Academy Alliance Meeting- 7pm Peers School Thursday 20th Sept

Letter in Oxford Mail- It's backdoor privatisation

To the Editor

Your editorial notes the lack of response to the official consultation exercise for academy status at Peers School (Oxford Mail, September 4). It's easy to become apathetic when local councils and the Government pay lip service to community empowerment and then regularly ignore the results of consultations.

No wonder people are turned off when the official literature doesn't put any arguments against academy status.

Perhaps the fact that the consultation brochure comes across as simply a propaganda exercise populated with photographs of smiling children (not from Peers), with a series of leading questions in the back, is the reason for the lack of responses.

Clearly, there is no popular desire for an academy experiment at Peers - only an obvious desire for increased funding and support for the existing school. Now that representatives of all political parties in Oxford have taken a position against academy status it is surely time for the county council and the Church of England to reconsider their plans for Peers.

The Anti Academies Alliance is campaigning to raise awareness over this backdoor attempt to privatise education in Oxford. I encourage anybody who wants to find out more to come to our next meeting at Peers School next Thursday, at 7pm.

DAVID RADFORD Oxford Anti-Academies Alliance

4:27pm Wednesday 12th September 2007

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Oxford Respect Annual General Meeting-Tues 25th September

On Tuesday 25th September 7.30 Respect National Secretary John Rees will be speaking at Oxford Town Hall on ‘The Future of Respect’, the meeting will be open to mebers of the public and will be followed by the Oxford Respect Annual General Meeting at which only members will be able to vote. Membership forms will be available on the night and can be obtained in advance from Dave 07985056089.

Sunday 16th September- Respect End of Summer BBQ!

Sunday 16th September – Oxford Respect will be having an end of summer BBQ from 12-4pm at Wolfson College. Bring burgers and drink.

For map see its no 44 at the top by the river.

There will be volleyball and rounders for the kids and a raffle of the new book by Newsnight journalist Paul Mason ‘Live working or die fighting’ , signed specially for Oxford Respect.

Plus Mike E is selling of his extensive book collection before heading the states.