Faced with negligent management, postal workers have taken matters into their own hands, walking out in protest against unsafe conditions at Royal Mail. This shows why we need a public postal service, under workers’ control.

Faced with negligent management, postal workers have taken matters into their own hands, walking out in protest against unsafe conditions at Royal Mail. This shows why we need a public postal service, under workers’ control.

There is growing anger among postal workers regarding the lack of safety and infection control provisions within Royal Mail. In some places, postal workers have already staged walkouts, showing the bosses that they won’t be sacrificed for profit.

At the start of April, 80 postal workers in Scotland walked out of the Alloa sorting office. This was in protest over the continuing delivery of junk mail during this pandemic, risking their lives in the process. According to one of the workers who spoke to the Daily Record, “Royal Mail is putting profit before health”.

The action quickly spread to other Royal Mail depots in Lochgelly (Fife) and Edinburgh. Faced with a growing wave of wildcat strikes, management soon retreated to change the company’s policy on junk mail delivery.

This serves as a lesson for workers everywhere: militant action is the only way to defend our lives against the relentless demands of the bosses.

But the safety measures put in place are still inadequate. Postal workers lack appropriate PPE, and social distancing measures are often proving impossible to adhere to. The mood amongst postal workers is increasingly reaching boiling point.

Just before the pandemic broke out, postal workers overwhelmingly had voted to go on strike over pensions, jobs, and conditions.

As events unfolded, however, the CWU leadership agreed to postpone the industrial action. This was on the understanding that Royal Mail was to be transformed into an emergency service, helping to deliver vital items such as medical equipment, drug prescriptions, and food supplies to vulnerable people.

At the beginning of this pandemic, every postal worker was ready and keen to take on this vital task of helping their communities. However, the bosses are standing in the way of this by not providing adequate protections. As a result, postal workers are feeling betrayed and let down.

The pandemic has exposed the real face of the capitalist class. They will do anything in order to make profit.

Postal workers can clearly see the limits of not having control of their own workplaces. The way forward for postal workers, therefore, is to fight to renationalise Royal Mail - under the democratic control of postal workers and the working class communities who use the service.