What kind of self-respecting anarchist worries about the fate of the Post Office?

I’m able to reproduce the leaflet that our anacho-syndicalists have produced outlining their interest in post offices:

Save Our Post Office!

New Labour plans to close Post Offices across South London, and transfer the counter service to WH Smith. These include Lewisham, Bexleyheath, Bromley, Forest Hill & Woolwich.

If the government gets its way, 2,500 post offices will shut. Seventy larger Post Offices, including Lewisham, will have their business transferred to WH Smith. At the same time, Post Office Chief Executive Adam Crozier has awarded himself a £370,000 bonus, taking his “earnings” to £1 million. New Labour claims the post offices are losing money, but why should profit matter, when it comes to vital public services like the Post Office?

Meanwhile, it’s good news for WH Smith bosses, who have seen share prices go up 27% in the last six months. According to their Chief Executive, WH Smiths plan “to house the Post Office countres without the need to spend money on expansion,” because they won’t be selling DVDs anymore. Even better, “There is a chance that after completing their tax disk for example, Post Office customers will stop to buy a newspaper or an item of stationary.” Given the queues in WH Smiths already, it might be better to buy a paper beforehand.

Closing the Post Office is…

Bad news for Post Office users

  • WH Smiths is busy as it is. How will they cope with 100s of extra customers a day?
  • Some WH Smiths are in a private shopping centres. The Post Office is used regularly by the most vulnerable members of the community. People who aren’t necessarily welcome in a shopping centre.
  • The government is already pressuring those on benefits to have their money paid into a bank account. Closing the Post Office can only increase that pressure, when the poorest members of the community find it difficult or impossible to open a bank account.

Bad news for workers in the Post Office and WH Smiths

  • According to the most recent figures available, Post Office counter staff were on 50p an hour more than a senior assistant in WH Smith.
  • The Communication Workers Union is not putting up a fight to defend the terms and conditions of their members. Instead, they are expected to take redundancy, and settle for lower pay.
  • How can enough Post Office counters be fitted into Lewisham WH Smith, in a way that is safe for workers? Even if Post Office workers are behind screens, what about the safety of other workers?

What you can do

We can’t trust politicians to save Lewisham Post Office

  • Lewisham Lib Dems are pretending to oppose the closure in the Council Chamber. But the policy of their own party is to allow Post Offices to “enter into business arrangements with other firms” – like WH Smith!
  • Labour might huff & puff about it, but what Gordon says goes.
  • The Tories tried to sell off the Post Office themselves in the mid-90s.

Only by acting for ourselves, without relying on politicians, can we have a chance of saving Lewisham Post Office. Please take the time to read & sign our pledge. If you want to be involved in the campaign to save Lewisham Post Office, please fill in your contact details.

It’s not the “smash the state” call to arms you thought it would be, is it?

About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
This entry was posted in Politics, South East London. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What kind of self-respecting anarchist worries about the fate of the Post Office?

  1. treborc says:

    If you can tax your car in Smiths some talk about it being removed, our post office has already closed it closed without any debate, an Asian family took it over slashed the wages of counter staff, and then close the lot.

    Now if I want to do anything within my area it s a long bus journey, when your a disabled person getting onto a bus is murder, and of course I have a wheelchair and our buses will refuse to help you so they pass you, what did you say about social justice.

    Labour has become the party Thatcher was not to long ago close anything which does not make a profit, but keep the quangos going pay out million to the super rich to give advice and stuff the sick and the disabled and the poor, keep the middle class smiling because they will keep you in power not me .

  2. andrewkbrown says:

    I don’t mind the Labour bashing, that goes with the territory, but what’s the ethnicity of the post office franchise holder you mention got to do with anything?

  3. ross says:

    came across this whilst googling for something on post office closures

    whilst i don’t have a great amount of time for most flavours of anarchists, i do know personally most of the people involved in south london solfed, and all of them are down to earth sensible community activists who like all decent progressives are against cut backs in any public services or a roll back in the ‘social wage’ of the community – there’s a lot of issues rolled up in the assault on post offices, the ongoing penetration of private interests into public life, the (eventual) downgrading of terms & conditions of employment of counter workers, the continued assault on some of the most disadvantaged members of society in terms of benefits & social safety nets – i see nothing wrong in highlighting these things and seeking to organise against them.

    to focus on a charactertured comedy image of anarchism (which i agree a lot of strands of it deserves) over the actual substantive underlying issues that they happen to raise, says more about you than it does them

  4. Andrew Brown says:

    Of course it says more about me than them. I’m the one typing out their leaflets!

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