“WORKING in Royal Mail, the biggest thing at stake in the election is Labour’s pledge to renationalise it. Privatisation might seem like an abstract term, but we’ve seen the reality of what it means over the past three years.
We’ve had delivery offices closing, meaning customers have to go further afield to collect their parcels if they’re not in. We saw prices rocket in the run-up to the sale to boost the returns for shareholders.
We’ve seen our workload increasing beyond what many people can bear as cost cutting begins to bite. And, most obviously, Royal Mail is now telling staff it’s going to close our pension scheme.
At the same time as telling us it can’t keep its promises for our retirement, it’s paying out hundreds of millions of pounds each year to shareholders. So we know too well what the Tories’ agenda leads to.
CWU members in the Post Office have also been hammered. Job losses, branch closures and pension cuts have all hit front-line staff who’ve borne the brunt of government austerity. Elsewhere in the parcels market we’ve seen an explosion of employers relying on zero hours, bogus self-employment and poverty pay.
The Tories have made a mess of this industry like they’ve done with so many before. So renationalising Royal Mail, setting up a post bank at the Post Office and overhauling employment rights, as Labour is pledging to do, are massive things.
When it comes to politics, I also look at my family. Two of my children have been to university but have been left with huge debts from tuition fees and all the other costs students have to face.
I worry about how they’ll ever be able to pay this off — and I don’t want to see my two youngest children, who might one day want to get a degree themselves, put off of university because of this. So Labour’s pledge to scrap tuition fees is important.
I also worry about how they’ll ever be able to afford a home. Saving for a deposit is now such a huge burden, never mind actually getting a mortgage — and rents are so high that it’s close to impossible.
Sometimes you read the papers and this is presented as a problem that’s limited to London — this is Rochdale I’m talking about. So this is a national crisis and it’s time we had a government that’s prepared to tackle it.
Finally, there’s the NHS. The staff are world class, but need the resources. In Rochdale we’ve lost our A&E and you can see the pressure services are under.
After seven years of cuts it’s clearer that ever that you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS. So for all these reasons, we need change in this country, and I’ll be voting Labour on June 8.