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Post Office Petition

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Message 1 - posted by DavidHankey, Jun 4, 2007

How misguided of the IWWW, Industrial Workers of the World Union, to organise a protest and petition boycotting WH Smith over the transfer of postal services from Bishop Street Post Office.

Post Office Ltd will lose 70M alone this year from the Crown Post Office network across the UK and I daresay the deal has already been done on this particlar transfer some time ago.

It is no use at all boycotting Smiths, vent your anger and frustrations directly at the PO and the Royal Mail Group. It is they who have taken this decision.

You may also remember the FOUR MILLION nationwide signature Petition to the Government last year over postal services - what did that achieve? An announcement by New Labour that they were to press ahead with the closure of 2500 rural Post Offices!!

Little chance the IWWW have of changing this decision.

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Message 2 - posted by alc296, Jun 5, 2007

If we all took your roll over and die attitude, David, we'd still be serfs in the fields. I think collecting 150 signatures in just a few hours is pretty impressive. I hope the protests continue and people tell the Post Office what they think through their sham of a consultation exercise. Protest can never promise success, but without protest we can always guarantee defeat. You know a lot about the postal business, David, why not offer the protestors your support? Never say die <smiley>
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Message 3 - posted by gigafifitrixi, Jun 5, 2007

The pledges collected by the IWW, as featured in yesterday's Leicester Mercury, have a great chance of raising awareness of the situation and how much people care about it! This isn't just another petition, this is a chance for people to take direct action. I am so glad someone is finally tackling this situation head on.

In the Mercury article yesterday, some guy from WHSmith made some claim about a consultation period. This is quite clearly nonsense, I use the Post Office every week and I had heard nothing until I read about the protest that was going to happen in the Mercury last week.

The IWW are doing a great job and if nothing else they are going to raise awareness so that all the disabled [people can start making alternative arrangements so they won't have to tackle getting down into the basement of Smiths to get to the serving counters.

It is a disgrace, and I am so glad that someone is taking the cause on - my MP certainly isnt going to do anything!

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Message 4 - posted by DavidHankey, Jun 5, 2007

To alc296, the analogy you make is hogwash.

Everyone employed in the Post Office knows that Petitions will raise public awareness on this issue but at the end of the day the decision has already been taken whether you like it or not.

Sadly, and although I don't necessarily agree with it, the economics of the situation have brought about this change.

Crown Post Offices currently lose 70M per year. Post Office Ltd and their bosses in Royal Mail Group along with the Government say this cannot continue. Couple this with the valuation of building in Bishop Street and it doesn't take Einstein to work out the result!!

The 4 million signatures acquired by Post Offices last year have had no affect as New Labour have confirmed recently that 2500 rural Post Offices are still to disappear.

People in the city centre will still have a Post Office to go to albeit in a different location, many thousands in the countryside will not have one at all!!

"Roll over and die" I don't think so, we've been fighting this blessed Government for the past 10 years over their decimation tactis of a public service.
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Message 5 - posted by DavidHankey, Jun 5, 2007

Fiona, if you have a New Labour MP don't expect anything do be done. The deal, I daresay, has already been signed and sealed.

However, I can't understand the "boycotting of Smiths" attitude. They have been a willing partner in this issue but the IWWW and their band of protesters need to "attack" the Post Office, Royal Mail and the Government.

If you have read my earlier postings regarding the economics of this decision it should really come as no surprise to anyone.
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Message 6 - posted by alc296, Jun 5, 2007

It seems to me David that you have long since given up the struggle. It's a pity, because I think you could play an important role in helping those who don't roll over and die. I'm proud I have been a fighter and campaigner all my life and although you think it's hogwash (what a quaint phrase) I repeat attitudes like yours would have seen ordinary people still living as serfs or, worse still, slaves. What progress we have we have fought for, nobody willingly gave it to us.
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Message 7 - posted by wobblyway, Jun 6, 2007

The IWW action is, of course, aimed at the Post Office as well as WH Smith. Why the boycott? Simple. Post Office Ltd and WH Smith have made an agreement which, in their own words, is 'not subject to public debate or consent'.

So, this means they've made an economic decision, without any democratic accountability. In response, the IWW has taken an economic decision - with one important difference. The IWW's call for a consumer boycott is democratic, seeks public support, and listens to public complaints. The IWW turns all this into a viable campaign, with no whingeing, and no despairing references to how hopeless it is to expect a change of decision. If the move goes ahead, IWW will have done its best and genuinely listened to the public. By the way, David - you've got one 'w' too many. Best 'w'ishes.
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Message 8 - posted by DavidHankey, Jun 6, 2007

Alc296, what on earth gives you the impression that I have "rolled over and died"?!! I've never heard of anything so daft.

You appear at ease to keep on side-swiping at me rather than read the salient points I have written.

Your analogy to "serfs" has nothing to do with this discussion and really does make you look silly.

Fighting, I reiterate, that I have been doing that over the past decade against all the odds. Against a Government who is hellbent on change for the sake of change and an organisation that is completely inadequate to stand up for it's members. Now, what was your question?

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Message 9 - posted by wobblyway, Jun 6, 2007

David - can I ask, rather than what you have been fighting, who you represent? Are you opposing the government from a trade union perspective, from a party-political standpoint, or a pressure group? Best wishes
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Message 10 - posted by alc296, Jun 6, 2007

My question I suppose, David, is this. Are you really intersted in saving the infrastructure of the Post Office (if so you should support anyone who is fighting to do this)or is it self interest? You go on a lot about rural post offices and I have a suspicion you have (or had) a vested interest here. Your posts, however, suggest that we Townies can go to the wall, after all by your logic we still have W.H. Smiths that, as other posters have said, is not disabled friendly and what about the bulk of the Bishop Street workers, many of whom will be joining the queue at Jobcentre Plus.

If I take a side-swipe at you, and I think I have always done so in a friendly manner if I have done so at all, it is because I believe in carrying on the fight to defend hard won public services against the views of this or any other Government. If that makes me silly (and I still believe with attitudes like yours we'd have made no progress for working class people) then I am glad to be called that rather than selfish like I think some of your posts are starting to suggest that you are.
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Message 11 - posted by DavidHankey, Jun 7, 2007

Wobblyway, perhaps "fighting" was the wrong word, I was replying to another when using that phrase.

My main attack is against New Labour who have for the past 10 years presided over the continual decline of the services provided traditionally by Post Offices.

As they have been successful in this exercise Post Office Ltd are incurring greater and greater losses hence the need to look at Crown Post Office sites and other axe-wielding measures in an attempt to return to profitability.

Unfortunately the Government do not want this public service any longer and indeed, have allowed their own DWP to move away from Royal Mail for their postal services. This is a sad indictment of how New Labour operate. On one hand say we must have a Post Office Network and yet allow it's disintegration on the other.

My own personal standpoint is simply this. I have been closely involved with running a rural post office and stores for 15 years. I am not a member of any trade union, political party nor pressure group.
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Message 12 - posted by DavidHankey, Jun 7, 2007

Alc296, I have been endeavouring to save post office services for a decade and a half taking on a run-down business, turning it round, handing in on to my son who has carried on in the same vein to become last year the "Best Rural Retailer" in the Midlands!!

It is New Labour who are hellbent on the demise of both Royal Mail and the Post Office.

Why should I support the IWWW? Their proposal to "boycott" WH Smiths is ludicrous. To show their objection they would be better employed refusing to use the new site in the basement. The Post Office would have to rethink then.

I have never suggested "Townies can go to the wall", indeed you will still have a facility which is more than thousands of villages in the countryside of the UK will soon have.

My "going on a lot" about rural post offices is because people who live in cities, generally, have no idea of what life is all about out in the "sticks" and the lack of facilities there are. Post Offices are probably the last meeting point for folk to have a chat and do their business.
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Message 13 - posted by alc296, Jun 7, 2007

Well, if we stop being polemic for a moment, David, I don't think there is much between us about the principle, although we obviously have different views about tactics. So, can we agree that there is probably more that unites us, than divides us? I am a city dweller, but I also believe in protecting our rural culture and having access to a Post Office is part of that. I, however, would ask that you take on board the concerns people posting have had (and by the way I'm not a IWW member) about the unsuitability for the disabled, elderly and perhaps parents with young children of the proposed facility in W.H. Smiths. I also have concerns about job losses amongst the existing staff at Bishop Street. Losing your job is not nice at any time. <smiley>

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Message 14 - posted by DavidHankey, Jun 7, 2007

I fully appreciate the practicalities of members of the public trying to use the basement of WH Smiths and this is why I say it would be better for the IWWW to "recommend" the boycotting of that facility and the actual shop itself.

It is Post Office Ltd who have done the deal with Smiths, not an ideal one, and from all accounts without any consultation with the public. If nobody uses it the Post Office would have to reconsider.

With regard to job losses, I too know all about the indignation of being made redundant. The question to ask is, why haven't WH Smiths employed existing PO staff? I guess the answer is the salary difference.

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Message 15 - posted by LeicesterIWW, Jun 6, 2007

Interesting discussion on the IWW's recent Bishop Street action. We got over 150 pledges signed in two hours, which isn't too bad considering Bishop Street post office is in a side street and not on the much busier Granby Street.

On the subject of the Pledge, here's the wording:

"In opposition to the continued privatisation of the Royal Mail, the closure of Bishop Street Post Office in Leicester and its transfer to the basement of WH Smith, I promise to boycott WH Smith until the plan to close and move Bishop Street is halted. Furthermore, if this plan goes through, I won't buy anything at WH Smith ever again."

We appreciate that plenty of other people also want to sign the pledge but weren't at Saturday's demo. So we've done an online version. I'm not allowed to give the web address on here, but if you google "Leicestershire IWW" you'll find our website, which has a direct link to the online pledge on the home page.

DavidHankey makes an excellent point when he reminds us that "The 4 million signatures acquired by Post Offices last year have had no affect as New Labour have confirmed recently that 2500 rural Post Offices are still to disappear."

That's exactly why the IWW is doing a pledge rather than a petition. We have no illiusions in the Post Office Ltd, WH Smith bosses or the Labour government and realise that many petitions are just more food for the shredder. However, if thousands of people actually refuse to shop at WH Smith as a result of their complicity in the ongoing destruction of the Post Office, then directors and shareholders will start to sit up and take notice when their dividends and remunerations are affected.

So, it's about building a mass popular campaign against this and other Post Office closures, with a stark warning to WH Smith's, that it's really not in their commercial interests to take part in the privatisation of the Post Offive.

We'll be holding a public meeting soon to fight the closure. Watch this space!

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Message 16 - posted by U2448401, Jun 8, 2007

Perhaps the Post office should roll over and die. It is past its sell by date. It is no longer economic or efficient. its role is much better played out by newer better organised more reliable commercial firms.Its industrial relations mindset is stuck in the sixties.Its staff are well paid for what they do. The public do not owe them an extravagant living and the service is outdated inconvenient and hit and miss. If this strike ballot leads to a permanent closedown then the country and customers will lose nothing that isn;t already being done better by others.
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Message 17 - posted by alc296, Jun 8, 2007

Perhaps the Post office should roll over and die. It is past its sell by date. It is no longer economic or efficient. its role is much better played out by newer better organised more reliable commercial firms.Its industrial relations mindset is stuck in the sixties.Its staff are well paid for what they do. The public do not owe them an extravagant living and the service is outdated inconvenient and hit and miss. If this strike ballot leads to a permanent closedown then the country and customers will lose nothing that isn;t already being done better by others.

Quoted from this message

And your evidence for things being done better by the private sector is?
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Message 18 - posted by alc296, Jun 9, 2007


People like this really get up my nose <steam> What he says about the Tories is true, but before accusing others of hypocrisy he ought to look at himself. If he really believes what he is saying, then why on earth is he still in the Labour Party?!
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Message 19 - posted by LeicesterIWW, Jun 9, 2007

I mentioned earlier to watch this space for the forthcoming Public Meeting on this. Well, here it is.

Called "Save Bishop Street Post Office," it's at 7.00pm on Tuesday 19th June at the Adult Ed College on Wellington Street (wheelchair accessible) and everyone is welcome. Organised by The Leicestershire General Membership Branch of the IWW, there'll be a speaker from the IWW, the Pensioners Action Group, Leicester Social Forum, and hopefully CWU (this last speaker TBC).

Bring ideas for action along with you because, after the initial short speeches, this is intended to be a planning meeting to build the campaign and decide on our plan of action.
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Message 20 - posted by DavidHankey, Jun 9, 2007

Whilst your "Pledge", Leicester IWW, is very laudable in bringing this issue to the attention of the general public of Leicester I cannot understand for the life of me why you insist on the people "won't buy anything at WH Smiths ever again" attitude.

Firstly, I'll think you'll find that a deal has already been signed and sealed nationally by Post Office Ltd.

Secondly, to boycott the WH Smith store is infantile. Surely, it would be better to boycott the basement area of the store to get your message over in a more direct manner.

Thirdly, you have to understand that Crown Post Offices are currently losing 70M per year and the city centre buildings which house these offices are worth considerably more than the business being generated. The Post Office and it's parent company Royal Mail Group are under the cosh to make savings and make them quickly. There has already been an "Urban Reinvention" programme and we are in the midst of a "Rural Network" cull. And all this because New Labour over the past 10 years have systematically allowed business to ebb away from what was traditionally work done by post offices and then can't understand why massive sums of money are being lost every year.

Fourthly, you have already acknowledged that Bishop Street is a "side street" therefore it's prominence in a busier thoroughfare, albeit, sited elsewhere would be a better option.
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