How do we fight privatisation?

Some quick thoughts on privatisation and how workers can effectively challenge it.

There two high profile cases of privatisation at the moment. Royal Mail is the one that’s hitting the headlines right now, but the National Health Service is also being sold off piece by piece.

Wildcats in the post

Article about recent wildcat strikes and disputes in the UK post office from Subversion in 1996.

Wildcat strike at Royal Mail delivery office gets the goods

Staff at a London delivery office have taken unlawful strike action and won the reinstatement of a fellow worker.

Around 90 postal workers at the N1 sorting office took unofficial strike action yesterday in support of a longstanding worker suspended for “wilful delay of the mail”.

After three hours of strike action managers caved in and reinstated the worker. “It’s a complete victory,” said Mark Dolan, a senior CWU union rep in north London.

When Royal Mail modernisation means a worse service - Roy Mayall

Postal worker Roy Mayall describes the reality of Royal Mail's much-heralded 'modernisation', and the upcoming further 'deregulation' of the postal sector.

Last week we had our first batch of walk-sequenced letters through. These are the letters sorted by the new multimillion-pound walk-sequencing machines that the Royal Mail has brought in as part of their new modernisation and investment programme.

Royal Mail deal: a post mortem

After 18 days’ strike action in London in 2009 the Communication Workers’ Union leadership voted for a return to work. As one reader of The Commune explains, the subsequent outcome has demoralised many:

by ‘Postman Pat’

I work at the West End Delivery Office in west London. After all the voluntary early retirements there’s along the lines of 300 workers on the floor, of those just 40-50 on nights.

Why the Royal Mail Deal is Junk

Roy Mayall on why the new agreement between the CWU and Royal Mail is bad for workers and bad for customers.

According to the official communiques, both sides in the postal workers' dispute are delighted with the complex deal that has been ironed out over the past weeks. The CWU is calling it a 6.9% pay rise over three years; the management is hailing the agreement as opening the way to "transformation" of the business.

Somerset postal workers walk out over suspensions

100 Royal Mail workers walked out on unofficial strike on 9 February against the suspension of two colleagues.

This is Somerset reported that More than 100 postal workers in Somerset staged a wildcat walkout yesterday in a row over the suspension of two colleagues and threatened cuts.

Employees at the Bridgwater Delivery Office, one of the biggest in the West, took to the picket line in a bid to force a rethink on the issue by Royal Mail.

Posties, tippex and ballots: the 1996 postal strikes

As Subversion #20 was produced, postal workers in Britain were in the middle of a long running dispute with the state. This article helped analyse the sell-out in preparation by the union. From Subversion #20 (1996)

When will Royal Mail be crushed like a snail
Under the foot of a postie on a crisp Autumn morn?
And is our dream of transcending the Unions entirely forlorn?

Loopholes - Royal Mail and the union

A Royal Mail worker describes the problems with the union and their motivations in the aftermath of the 2009 strikes.

I was talking to my union rep about the attendance procedure, the process by which posties are threatened with dismissal for being ill. ‘The union must have negotiated this,’ I said. ‘If the union hadn’t negotiated it, it wouldn’t exist.’

Privatising the post: too much, too late

Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt details the turbulent history of government attempts to sell off the postal service and how consultants conspired to present public sector looting as sheer imperative.

While the government may have shelved plans to privatise the Royal Mail, the self-affirming logic of neoliberalism that informed the plans persists. Published in mid-July 2009, this article provides useful background to the 2009 postal strikes.