Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The sad demise of the Royal Mail

So next week those who have brought shares and you have to have brought 750 pounds worth of them at least ill float on the stock exchange. This sees the end of an era for publically owned mail services. No longer will the Royal Mail be publically owned but owned and accountable only to its shareholders. The Royal Mail has delivered post and parcels for a long time now and as with a lot of things people wont realize what they had until it is gone much like the NHS which is to be privatized soon too with devastating effects. This is a disgrace and should never have been allowed to happen but it has. The last labour government tried before with peter Mandelson facing opposition yet this time it seems like it’s gone though straight away with nothing but a peep out of the unions. As for the Trade Unions whatever happened to those ballots over privatization all gone a bit quiet hasn’t it? The CWU the communication workers union who is headed up by labour fanatic Billy Hayes have lead numerous sell outs over the years including the one most recently in 2009 where a defeat for the workers was sold as a victory shamefully despite workers being willing to take further action. The CWU has form when it comes to diffusing members’ anger and selling disputes short. As with all unions, there will inevitably come a point when what counts as a victory for the officials will clash with the interests of the workers, and as long as the bureaucrats maintain control of the dispute they will get their way. So how can we fight privatisation if the likes of the CWU are n not willing to fightback as I hope won’t be the case of course. "Privatisation should be fought as it is always pushed as a way to benefit shareholders and private profit over workers and service users. But, as civil servants and public sector workers will be all too aware right now, a boss is a boss is a boss. Our struggles may force nationalisation, and this may be a short or long term benefit depending on the terms, but we don’t need this as a demand for it to be the outcome. “Public” ownership is no automatic panacea and it is no substitute for genuine workers’ self-management. That being said, how do we fight against privatisation? Strikes and other industrial action by the workers affected are obviously one of the best forms of action, but this doesn’t mean that lacking a unionised workforce – or with a union unwilling to fight – then the sell off is inevitable. Likewise, alongside solidarity on the picket lines, the wider class can utilise direct action as part of the fight. There are a number of forms this could take. The "I won't pay" movement in Greece is one example that can be deployed when what’s at stake is a service where fees are being introduced, or significantly hiked, as a result of private sector involvement. This can also galvanise an awful lot of people given how extra costs can impact particularly on those already struggling to make their income meet their outgoings. Another potential form of direct action is the kind of pickets that the anti-workfare campaign has used to force providers out of the government’s work for benefits schemes. After all, a sell off requires a buyer, and if we can find out who is bidding for the contract then a hit on their profits and customers turning away can potentially persuade them to pull out of the deal. There are also occupations and economic blockades. As with the threat of a service being shut down altogether, users taking it over in opposition can be a powerful show of defiance and cause the kind of disruption that can make the whole process too much of a headache. Likewise, since the person doing the selling is the government, hitting the economy as a whole by blocking roads (or bridges) can have a similar disruptive impact. None of these actions are on their own going to stop privatisation. Nor are they all going to be equally useful in every circumstance. But they should be seen as a starting point that we can build on and utilise where possible. When privatisation is threatened, whether the detrimental effect is purely for the workers facing it or for broader sections of the working class, we should fight it. But all the petitions in the world won’t force the state and the bosses to change their mind. They can safely ignore us too if all we do is March from point A to point B and listen to speeches. Don’t petition – organise! " With quotes and extracts from http://libcom.org/blog/how-do-we-fight-privatisation-20092013

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