Next Monday is national Postal Workers Day – a chance to mark the vital role mail workers play in our communities
MONDAY December 14 marks the fourth national Postal Workers Day, when the nation celebrates the hard work and dedication of the hundreds of thousands of women and men who — throughout the year and whatever the weather — collect, sort and deliver our letters, parcels and packets to every address in the country.
It coincides with one of the busiest mail traffic days of the year for postal workers, when tens of millions of items are in the system. To mark the day, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is again asking the public to think of their postmen and women and to show their appreciation for the hard work they carry out and the vital service they perform in delivering the People’s Post.
The day’s events celebrate the hard work of postal workers, acknowledge the critical role they play in our local communities and give them the thanks, recognition and rewards they deserve.
“The universal postal service is one of the great inventions in Britain’s social history which is still relevant today as Royal Mail approaches its 500th anniversary,” says CWU deputy general secretary Terry Pullinger.
“No other provider can claim that they totally connect every single one of the 29 million addresses in this country six days a week, every week of the year at a guaranteed uniform price.
“The universal service obligation (USO) doesn’t discriminate — whoever and wherever you are, you are entitled to receive daily deliveries at your chosen address and it is, therefore, right that once a year the country properly recognises and thanks postal workers for delivering such an important and cherished public service,” Pullinger says.
“The USO means you can post a letter in Cornwall today and have it arrive in Scotland tomorrow for less than the price of a cup of tea. It’s a wonderful human and logistical effort that should be celebrated and not unfairly criticised,” he adds.
National Postal Workers Day also recognises that postal workers do much more than just deliver the mail — regularly going the extra mile to serve the communities they deliver to all year round, keeping an eye out for the vulnerable and elderly and even working with the police and charities to help find missing children. They are the eyes and ears of their communities and many play the role of Good Samaritan — helping people and customers they encounter while out on their daily deliveries.
But while the postal service exists to serve the people of Britain, residents, local businesses and other vital parts of our communities, the CWU says this is being threatened by privatisation, regulation and unfair competition.
Instead of supporting the USO and the people who deliver it, the government has “embraced a narrow, free-market ideology which has damaged the very fabric of the country and threatens not just the future of the USO but the jobs, pay and conditions of postal workers,” warns Pullinger.
“The ideology has to change and through the People’s Post campaign, the CWU will continue to protect the legacy of the USO and the people who deliver it.”
The People’s Post campaign is not simply about protecting this vital service for the public, it’s also about protecting decent jobs and ensuring that every postal worker is paid a decent wage with good terms and conditions of service that properly reflects their hard work, commitment and dedication.
“Royal Mail and the Post Office should never have been separated — that was only done to ease the privatisation path. Their natural synergies make them a complete and fully integrated public service and they should be brought back together under public ownership.
“The current situation is unacceptable with Royal Mail being depicted as a privately owned pariah requiring regulation to make it efficient and the Post Office being run down by government whist still publicly owned. Both are being denied the freedom to respect their heritage, modernise and grow,” Pullinger says.
Royal Mail privatisation (which cost the taxpayer millions in lost revenue) was pushed through despite overwhelming public opposition and with no shred of consultation or public debate.
“It is a clear example of political arrogance,” Pullinger says. “In response, we cannot allow for a destructive approach by a ‘free-market’ obsessed regulator, who refuses to recognise natural monopolies in the interest of the public and who puts in place measures that effectively strangle this much-admired and cherished public service.”