POSTAL workers will make a stand in the town centre on Saturday as their fight to stop the Royal Mail’s privatisation invites the public to press their MPs.
Staff at Royal Mail House in Rowland Hill Close, Dorcan, will be handing out postcards to shoppers between 9am and 5pm, and asking for their names and addresses.
These cards will then be sent to the shopper’s local MP in an effort to draw attention to the number of people opposed to the privatisation of an institution which can be traced back to 1516.
Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, has confirmed he will attend the stall, as will Anne Snelgrove, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for South Swindon.
Mrs Snelgrove, who has also backed the workers’ opposition, said: “It would be a huge mistake to privatise the Royal Mail. Put profit before service and we all lose out, which is what will happen under a privatisation.
“I don’t want to lose out on deliveries into Swindon or countryside areas. I want people in the villages around Swindon to have as good a service as we have at the moment.
“I am very concerned that won’t be so if the Royal Mail is privatised.”
Sandy Best, 47, of Upham Road, is a postwoman of 24 years’ standing, and she is co-ordinating Saturday’s event which will call to stop the Royal Mail being floated on the stock market and sold to private investors.
Mrs Best has already begun to raise awareness in Swindon, at Swindon & Wiltshire Pride earlier this month and at the Brunel Centre at the end of July.
Backed by her husband Colin, a postman of 34 years, and several colleagues, Mrs Best hopes the public will support them in urging MPs to appreciate this a public service doing well without private investment.
“This is a profit-making organisation, there is no need for them privatise,” she said. “There are certain things in cities, towns and villages that are valued by people – the postman coming each morning, the day-to-day contact with people. This is an institution that shouldn’t be touched.
“There are things in this country that I feel we should like and cherish. We have something good, so why do something to make it less good for the general public and staff?
“You can post a letter to anywhere in the country for exactly the same price. In the future, posting things to the Shetland Islands could cost a lot more under privatisation.”
Mrs Best and her colleagues are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which balloted members on the proposed privatisation earlier this year. Of a 74 per cent turnout, 96 per cent voted against the privatisation.
Dermot Fuller, 48, of Bowman Close, who is a south central divisional representative for the CWU, said: “A privatised service would be more expensive for the public.
“It will also probably result in job losses for those currently working at the Royal Mail. Companies like TNT (a private courier company) pay their staff the minimum wage and offer zero hours contracts.”