Yesterday, I let our local Postman know he has the full support of our household, in striking. He told us thanks, and that they are going to need all the support they can get.
I’m getting mildly bored of the coverage the Media seems to be giving the Postal strikes. Purely because across the media, including the “impartial” BBC, all I see is small business owners complaining about their invoices not being sent, or regular people in the street complaining that their nephews might not receive their Nintendo DS in time for Christmas. There is very rarely postmen explaining the reasons for the strike action. The first thing that strikes me about both of those arguments, is how utterly selfish they are.
The first (the small business owner), is merely thinking about his or her own wealth prospects. The strikes threaten their wealth. The nature of business, is indeed “I’m more important than everyone else“. The less industrial action, even if the action is justified in bringing about much needed regulations to improve the working conditions of the workforce, the better when it comes to business. It is the reason the CBI opposed minimum wage….. they wanted us for as cheap as possible, so they could make as much as possible. It is the reason why Primark are able to get away with abusing the child populations of Bangledesh. Because it benefits business. It is the reason why Trafigura tried to gag the Guardian, into it’s discovery that they’d knowingly tried to cover up their part in the Côte d’Ivoire toxic waste dump scandal. It threatens their wealth. It’s the reason Insurance Companies in America manage to attract ridiculously naive members of the American public, into opposing Universal Healthcare by using such discourse of the privileged few, manipulative terms as “Socialism” and “Freedom“…… They’ve somehow (quite impressively) managed to convince a large section of the American public, that the ability for a private insurance firm to make a lot of money, is more important than the rights of a poor man to get a decent quality of healthcare. It is the reason why the Conservatives have successfully managed to take the debate away from the fact that their free-market ideology has failed miserably, and onto the fact that they plan to drastically cut public spending. Selfishness. The very basis of business. When in comes to the Postman strike, the rich elites (and their blind, idiotic followers) do not care how badly the postmen are treated, as long as their wealth is secure.
The second, is arguably less intelligent. They aren’t out to protect their own wealth (when living in a system that rewards selfishness, protection of ones own wealth, is the natural reaction, especially from a business class). The “I’m expecting a parcel that hasn’t arrived because of the selfish postmen!!!” argument, isn’t even worth listening to. It’s even more frustrating, that these idiots can vote.
Onto the strike itself, Peter Mandelson (A LABOUR MINISTER!!!!) said of the strikes, that Royal Mail faced “a very poor future” if modernising efforts were not realised. I’m not entirely sure what he means. He sounds very Thatcher-esque, but of course he used the word “modernising” instead of “privatisation“. Are we better off, as a society, with the privatising of British gas? Or BT? Are our bills less expensive than they were? Is the service they provide, much better than it was? Not particularly. Can you actually get through to BT when you need them? No. They’re useless. We all know it. So what are we actually expecting from the “modernising” of Royal Mail? All that privatisation achieved, was handing over democratic institutions that worked for the benefit of the whole of society, to private hands that work for the benefit of enriching shareholders. Suddenly, democracy is very much under attack. Suddenly, key institutions (gas and heating especially) are not working in the interests of society, they exist as money making opportunities and nothing more. Suddenly, the minority (the rich) rule the majority (the rest of us), and that, by definition, is so horrendously undemocratic, it’s unjustifiable. Do we want that to happen to Royal Mail? Because if it does, post will cost far far more than it does now.
Why don’t they start, by improving management? Why attack the workforce first? There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that allows bankers to destroy the economy, yet live out the rest of the days, free from prosecution, on a beautiful beach somewhere exotic….. yet allows public workers to bare the heavy burden of “cost cutting” in order to bring down a debt, caused, by the private market.
Royal Mail said in May 2009, that they needed to impose a pay freeze on 181,000 Postman and other staff. The average Royal Mail worker, takes home £347.61 a week before tax, whereas the UK average worker, takes home £438. The Royal Mail CEO Adam Crozier, whilst freezing the pay of very low paid, below average salaried workers; increased his own salary, to £1,000,000, and took home a bonus of £2,000,000. And people have the fucking nerve to blame the Posties for being “greedy“? If you genuinely believe the workers are making a fuss over nothing, you are not worth debating with.
It isn’t even as if Royal Mail are struggling (When your boss takes home £3,000,000, the company isn’t struggling); in the nine months to December 2008, Royal Mail made £255,000,000…… in profit! That’s up from £162,000,000 in 2007. Showing the biggest profits the company has ever made, and then rewarding your staff who achieved that, with a pay freeze, and pensions that do not follow the rate of inflation, whilst enriching yourself, is pathetic and totally unjustifiable. But, they wear suits and ties, so apparently that makes it okay these days, to be a bit of a crook. Royal Mail are hardly facing a huge struggle weathering this recession, and certainly doesn’t justify huge pay freezes, mass redundancies, increased shifts (sometimes 50% added to their usual round, and given no extra time to complete it, or extra pay), whilst the boss works three times a week, and enriches himself with horrendously large pay packets.
It seems all too convenient, that after the announcement that Mandelson wanted to sell off 30% of Royal Mail and the general public opposing such a move….. that suddenly the service takes a dive. Could it be, that the Government needed to somehow make the service look like it needed “saving”? Because the service suddenly took a downward turn this year, for no obvious reason (Royal Mail made an all time record profit in 2008….. hardly struggling, or needing to cut costs).
The public in general didn’t support the selling off, because Royal Mail was working fine. So, it has been systematically abused, badly, to look like it needs “saving“.
The problem for the Government is….. it doesn’t need modernising, or saving, because it made a huge profit (it’s biggest ever) and far surpassed all it’s targets. The Government, and Royal Mail management, seem to be suggesting that the product isn’t broken at all……. but it needs fixing anyway.
Labour have massively disappointed me over this problem. They have backed management the entire way. A lot of jobs will be lost through “modernising” despite the fact that Royal Mail made it’s biggest profit ever last year. Shouldn’t that money be going to securing jobs? Why aren’t the very Party set up to advance the cause of workers, actually doing that? It’s a little concerning.
We know what we want from Royal Mail. We want a Post Office not too far away, we want a good daily service, and we want a Postie that everyone knows and talks to. We don’t want 30% sold to a private firm who’s main objective is to enrich the boardroom. We want a service that works for the public, not controlled by incompetent, out of touch bosses, or the private market.
I fully support the Posties in this. Because the moment we stop supporting their right to strike, we are giving management the green light, to impose whatever ludicrous working conditions they so wish on the workforce, purely because they know the public, with it’s obsession with consumerism, will oppose the strike.
Is it obvious that I’m a little bit of a Socialist?