Plymouth postal staff's protest over privatisation fears
POSTAL workers are preparing for a day of action to highlight fears of the Royal Mail's privatisation.
Unions are angry that posties already deliver piles of rivals' mail – and are calling for Ofcom to step in.
Private postal company mail has rocketed in recent years and now makes up 45 per cent of letter volumes delivered by Royal Mail.
More than 150 city-based postal workers will be donning Santa hats outside the huge Royal Mail base in Plymstock to raise awareness of the issue.
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The employees will take to the street outside the Breakwater Road centre from 8am on Monday, December 17.
There will then be a meeting at Home Park's Green Taverners Suite at 7pm that evening set to include appearances from union chiefs, MPs and business leaders.
Chris Webb, divisional representative for the CWU union, said: "In the event of privatisation becoming a reality it will, as history clearly tells us, be areas like the South West that will be hit by worsening services and rising costs.
"The CWU and postal workers in general are not prepared to see the public and businesses that we serve isolated from this debate.
"The meeting on the 17th offers a real opportunity for all key stakeholders to debate the future of a fantastic British institution".
The union says unfair competition is undermining the Royal Mail's service.
It also has concerns over the equality of postal workers' pay and conditions in the private sector.
Regional secretary Kevin Beazer said: "The events in Plymouth on the 17th are the next step on the route to convincing the coalition Government that they must take a step back from their current path, which would see the postal service as we know it wiped out forever."
Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, added: "Under unfair competition we've seen prices rise, services diminish, closures and job losses.
"Competition and privatisation are old-fashioned theories which have had their day.
"What's important is decent services and jobs and that's what we're standing up for."
The union is planning to ballot members in the New Year with the intention of boycotting competitors' mail.
"We're not prepared to stand by and watch the jobs of our members be ruined by unfair competition which could be avoided," added Dave Ward, the CWU's deputy general secretary.
"Boycotting parts of the mail which are damaging services is a proportionate response to the threat posed by unfair competition."