'Your fight is our fight'

Unite delegate Tommy Murphy speaks out in defence of Royal Mail workers

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Unite delegate Tommy Murphy seconded an emergency motion on the Royal Mail, which recently announced it would be cutting 10,000 jobs.

Tommy said at the heart of this “disgusting threat to jobs” was the “grim reality of privatisation”.

“Royal Mail, a once great public service, used to set the standards that all public postal services around the world sought to emulate,” he noted.

“Now it’s held together only by the sacrifice and unpaid labour of postal workers. The commitment to universal service has been he made by members every single day — unpaid hours, unable to take breaks, unable to take holidays. This paints a picture all too familiar for workers in the NHS, local authorities and other public services.”

Tommy said that this was the “reality of privatisation” and “this fight is the boss’s attempts to complete the process they began a decade ago”.

He noted that the “transformation of a 500-year-old public service” has been reduced to “a gig economy sweat shop to be picked apart by profiteers”.

Tommy went on to highlight who exactly profits from this hollowing out of the Royal Mail, including CEO Simon Thompson “who pockets 26 times the pay of the average worker” as well as Equity Investment, Royal Mail’s largest shareholder.

He noted that as Unite has learned from many of its disputes across the economy – for example with Arriva buses, owned by Deutsch Bahn, to Felixstowe port, owned by CK Hutchinson – it was vital that we “follow the money and name and shame the profiteers”.

“We have to move the share price as well as the picket line,” Tommy added. “That’s how we move and beat hostile employers — and that takes unity. Let’s end the assault on our postal workers, drive out the profiteers, and make Royal Mail public again.”

Urging conference to support the motion, he concluded, “Solidarity – because your fight is our fight”.

The emergency motion was carried.

By Hajera Blagg

Pic by Mark Thomas

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