POSTIES staged a shock occupation of Parliament Square yesterday to demand that privateers take their greedy mitts off the Royal Mail.
A rally at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster to launch the People’s Post campaign was addressed by leaders of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), MPs and campaigners.
The union has established the campaign to highlight the threat to daily deliveries and postal workers’ terms and conditions from Royal Mail privatisation and aggressive regulation.
Writer and journalist Owen Jones said he was “proud” to support the campaign.
“Let’s fight for a country where everyone has a wage on which they can live, a job with security and a home which they can afford for them and their family,” he told the crowd.
Former Labour MP Katy Clark, who is currently standing on a left-wing ticket for her party’s conference arrangements committee, told workers: “In fighting for a universal service throughout the country you are fighting for the British public.”
The campaign is calling for new legislation to safeguard the daily delivery, protections for employment standards, a halt to further postal sell-offs, and the living wage as a legal minimum in the sector.
After the rally new CWU general secretary Dave Ward led a procession of 500 postal workers onto the square and warned that the parcels market was becoming a “wild west” for exploitative bosses.
“The CWU today is making it clear to the government and the regulator that, whether Royal Mail is in public or private hands, we are not going away and we will not remain silent as the postal service and postal workers’ terms and conditions are eroded,” he said.
“Everyone has a story about parcel deliveries that never arrive or packages being thrown over a fence or left in a bin. It’s a damning indictment of Ofcom that it’s ignored this.”
Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn greeted the Parliament Square protest, telling workers that plans for a £30 billion sell-off of state assets unveiled in Wednesday’s Budget showed the “true face of the Tory party.”
Rival Andy Burnham tweeted his support for the campaign.