Today is one of the busiest days of the year for our postal workers who collect, sort and deliver letters and parcels to millions of homes across the UK.
Last Christmas, our postal workers delivered a staggering 138 million packages. This is a testament to their hard work in serving the public, not only throughout the year but at Christmas when the rest of us are winding down for the holidays.
But the only present the Tories are offering them is worse pay and conditions.
Back in 2013, the Tory-led coalition committed one of the biggest policy blunders in recent time. They forced the Post Office to spilt from the Royal Mail, by selling the latter for a measly 330p a share, which was way below market price. The Tories’ reckless approach to one of Britain’s key historical industries has cost the British taxpayer around £1billion.
Since then, we have seen the relentless cost-cutting strategies pushed through by both the Royal Mail and the post office.
Royal Mail has seen 12,000 job losses and a proposal by the company to slash workers’ pensions by 45%, all the while private shareholders have been paid out in dividends a whopping £700million.
The Post Office’s strategy of managed decline has forced the closure of community Post Offices up and down the country and has prioritised cuts to staffing levels.
For seven long years the Tories have presided over a stagnating economy which has seen wages driven down and the cost of living driven up. Time after time this government has prioritised the interests of the few over the needs of the many.
Our postal workers have had enough and this October members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action against the Royal Mail. They will send a clear message of defiance against the cost-cutting agenda which has severely impacted their working lives.
Labour backs our postal workers in their fight for decent pay and conditions. A future Labour government will stop the cuts to the Post Office and will renationalise the Royal Mail. This will ensure that any profits are reinvested into improving the service for the benefit of both its workers and consumers, not just for a few private shareholders.
Today we stand in solidarity with our postal workers not only as they rush to meet the Christmas demand but in their fight for fair pay and conditions.
Gill Furniss is the Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough and shadow minister for postal services