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24 HOUR STRIKE TO SAVE THE PEOPLE'S POST OFFICE HITS SALFORD
 

Star date: 15th September 2016

JOBS CUTS, PENSION CUTS AND PRIVATISATION

Post Office services in Salford and nationally are being hit today as Communication Workers Union (CWU) members embark on a 24 hour strike against cuts to jobs and pensions, and the increasing privatisation of the Government run service. 

"It's the people at the lower end of society who need the Post Office to keep going" says CWU rep Mark Worthington "But they're cutting and cutting and cutting..."

Full details here...


24 Hour Post Office Strike Post Office Strike
click image to enlarge

As traffic goes by the picket line outside the Post Office CIT Depot near Oldham Street in Manchester, cars are tooting their horns in support of a 24 hours strike to save the People's Post.

It's from this depot that all Post Office services in Salford and beyond are delivered Ė the cash that pays benefits and pensions, the high value mail and more. Two thirds of the staff here are being laid off, services are being cut and employees' pensions are being slashed, while there's the increasing spectre of privatisation.

"We feed everything for the Post Office to make it run properly on a day to day basis" says Mark Worthington, from Salford and the CWU union rep for Manchester "It's a highly secure job that we do. These are the guys who go across the pavement with helmets on and take the risk of being shot at, or attacked with machetes - and it happens here more than other places Ė but the Post Office is saying they're paying them too much."

There's all sorts of things happening which have led to today's strike. At this depot, staff are being axed because external contracts to handle cash from private companies like Aldi and Spirit pubs are being stopped, despite management getting those `bad contracts' in the first place. And for those remaining, pensions are being slashed from `final salary' to `contribution defined' which one worker said would lose him £4,000 a year on retirement.

"They're doing a Philip Green on our pensions basically, and it's the Government that are behind all of this" Mark explains "There's a severe amount of honesty required in this job. We're all good honest working class lads, and what we wanted was to get to 60 or 65 and know that we've got a reasonable pension at the end of it. But no more. They're battering our pensions."

Elsewhere, those Crown Post Offices that are still left, like Salford Precinct, are increasing under threat, with many shutting over the past few years to be replaced by `franchised' counters in shops.

"You go into WH Smiths now and they've got a post office, and what they've done is called it `franchising' but it's another word for privatisation" says Mark "These guys started out working for the Post Office, a big national institution, but are now finding themselves as WH Smith employees, getting TUPE'd over."

Giving the national picture, Dave Ward, General Secretary of the CWU, states: "Showing greater concern for the commercial interests of potential buyers than the future of a public service, the Government split the Post Office from Royal Mail in 2012. This kept it in public ownership while the Royal Mail was privatised, fattening up a successful business the Government went on to sell at a knockdown price.

"While the Post Office faced the challenges of being separated from the profitable mail business, the Government also decided to start systematically scaling back the Post Office's public funding" he adds "With no strategy to grow its revenues, the cost-cutting has had predictable results..."

The `predictable results' are the running down of the Post Office's community assets and the adverse affect on staff...

"We're all gutted at the way they are treating the service at the moment - you've got people on pensions and benefits in the inner city area who need a post office and need to have cash" Mark explains "Also, I come to work to feed my family and have a better life, like everyone else, but they're cutting and cutting and cutting and I'm finding myself working longer and longer hours to try and maintain my lifestyle..."

This 24 hour strike is about defending the People's Post Office, those who work in it and those who rely on it...

J wrote
at 18:40:13 on 20 September 2016
I see you have visited the page, http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/27/section/1, copied it to plaintext, then edited it twice so where it read "Section 1", it now reads "Section 1.1". I've copied that page to plaintext myself and put asterisks around the two parts you edited. I'm not pasting it here but have pasted it to http://pastebin.com/rmkd10eN and you can use ctrl F for "*Section 1*" and it will highlight them.

wrote
at 12:00:40 on 17 September 2016
Very soon there is going to be no public owned anything, yes franchising these post offices is just privatisation. My local post office was closed to be replaced by one in a shop, with bad staff, huge queues because they run from the post office to the 'shop' when they are short staffed. Very poorly run. The post office area manager told me complaints were increasing because they pretty much do what they want. I feel more sorry for the elderly and disabled as they rely heavily on post offices for a whole host of things. God help us when the boundary changes happen and the Tories are perpetually in power, we are going to be run by big businesses. (And Tahir, 'J' is most likely to be Mr Felses husband and sole fan)

Salford Star wrote
at 05:57:51 on 17 September 2016
See the comments below - these latest comments have nothing to do with the post office strike. Unless comments address the article from now they are just not going to be `posted'

wrote
at 05:51:28 on 17 September 2016
Why does someone keep posting a link to the 'award' Felse won? It's a self nominated award, 'won' for teaching at his own business in a level 3 customer service course. Big deal

Spanish Salfordian wrote
at 20:21:21 on 16 September 2016
Obviously Mr Felse does not understand that the Spanish have a siesta, that's why the post office ain't open all day. How long have you been there Mike?? Have you not realised the local shop opening times yet!!! When things get too hot in Spain they have a sleep, a bit like in the town hall in Swinetown really, not much difference.

wrote
at 17:17:57 on 16 September 2016
Wow! Mr. Felse is UK Tutor of the Year 2016. Why werenít we told before now? One strange thing is that when I type Felse, my spellchecker insists that it is False.

white wrote
at 17:17:47 on 16 September 2016
In Spain, postage stamps can be bought at small shops ĎEstancosí as well as post offices. And some other shops. Perhaps he should look about more, or buy some when he can and thus be prepared. When we are there we have no problems.

Michael James Felse wrote
at 12:24:14 on 16 September 2016
Yes @white. I am indeed in Spain teaching the end of the skills conferences in me being UK Tutor of the Year 2016 sponsored by City & Guilds that trains over 2million learners a year. My aim is to bring the City & Guilds HQ to relocate into Salford as part of attracting £8billion into Greater Manchester's skills budget. As for stamps you remind me in these peak towns the Spanish can in fact only get postage stamps from post offices that open a few hours a day. Again a very poor match for our UK supreme post efficient services. Felse.

RayofSunshine wrote
at 12:23:53 on 16 September 2016
Perhaps the Spanish Posties are doing a deliberate go slow on Senor F else's post? They don't take too kindly to fascists in modern Spain!

wrote
at 21:17:31 on 15 September 2016
Mr Felse must demand that the Spanish postal service is improved. Either that or try putting a stamp on his postcards. Mine take about three days usually.

white wrote
at 21:17:24 on 15 September 2016
I never realised that Michael Felse had been to Spain.

Michael James Felse wrote
at 19:24:16 on 15 September 2016
our postal system must be protected and embedded into Brexit future plans - I can tell you Spain, France nor Germany has any thing as efficient as the UK system. Here in Spain it took 3 weeks for postcards to arrive in Salford due to Spanish poor services. Felse.

Stephen Morris wrote
at 17:57:14 on 15 September 2016
Both the CWU and Unison are hypocrites, both of these unions supported remaining in the EU political system and it was that very system which forced the UK government to break up our postal service. The labour party supported the EU Directive 2008/6/EC which called for the postal sector to be fully open to competition by 31 December 2012.

Tahir Chakotai (Independent Housing Advocate) wrote
at 17:56:09 on 15 September 2016
I would like to start by saying that I am a severely physically disabled adult, and I rely heavily on my local Post Office, to pay bills, send letters, buy stationary, and access my benefits via my Post Office Account. I would also like to add, that my Local Post Office is built within the Manchester Town Hall. I can not speak highly enough, about the quality of service I am provided with by their staff. They all know me by name, and are attentive and supportive to my every disabled need. I certainly do not want my Local Post Office to be shoved into a small inaccessible shop, where the staff see you as a number, and not a person with needs. The Post Offices within the UK used to be classed as one of our nations national treasures, however like every other good service within the UK, the local government is trying ruin such services by privatising them. Well I say, "keep your hands off our beloved Post Offices you rotten Conservatives!!!!".

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