Royal Mail bosses don't understand what organisation means to nation: Andy McDonald
If that happens we will all be the poorer for it.
Royal Mail is quintessentially British but tragically the current managers are determined to make it just yet another delivery company exploiting workers and extracting value for shareholders without a moment's thought for the workforce, the communities they serve, or the very institution itself.
Despite the criminal act of privatisation, Royal Mail is still our Royal Mail.
But there is nothing patriotic about the incompetent and badly motivated CEO Simon Thompson and his fellow directors decimating a 500-year-old institution that has served countless generations with a one price universal service.
There is a contract between Royal Mail, the workforce and the people.
Right across our communities, people know and value their posties. And they expect the employer to value them as well.
If thousands of posties lose their jobs and those who are left are plunged into fragile work with precarious terms and conditions, if indeed they are still to be “employees” in employment status terms, that will be a breach of that very contract.
And Mr Thompson and his friends may as well change the revered name of the company and compete with all the other service providers, because the very essence of Royal Mail will have been destroyed.
The management of Royal Mail singularly fails to understand the social and community value of the service and the army of posties on our streets every day.
Our posties don’t just deliver cards and letters. They are the eyes and ears of our communities, looking out for folk and at times, providing the only human contact some people have.
We as a society should be capitalising on such a publicly engaged asset and workforce for the benefit of our communities but that doesn't fit with the Thomson ideology.
Making over £770m profit one year and paying out over £500m to shareholders and then pleading poverty the next, these predatory vandals are unpicking our heritage and with it one of the great manifestations of commonality across these islands.
But Thompson and crew are only reflecting the neoliberal obsession that has poisoned our country ever since the coming to power of Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
Our national treasures have been turned into cash machines and opportunities for profiteering.
That has not only corroded our traditions and heritage, it’s also done so much damage to the very concept of what it means to be of service to others, to be a community, to be compassionate, indeed the very essence of what it means to be British for so many people.
It’s also undermined our economy into the bargain.
We have lost so much already.
British Steel is now owned by the Chinese.
Trains in Britain are run by corporate entities whose losses are underwritten by UK taxpayers extracting value at every turn entirely for their own self interest.
They include state run transport companies from across the planet, to the exclusion of the British state, unless and until of course the train operator collapses and then the British state steps in.
Our precious NHS to name another, carved up for profiteers whose profits cut deep into the ability of the NHS to fulfil its mission.
But quite clearly that is the intention, and if those private companies are allowed to tighten their stranglehold, they will achieve their ultimate aim and ambition to choke the life out of the NHS itself.
Year on year, evidence of the things that bind us together - the local tax offices and our Post Offices, the DWP Job Centres closing, councils ability to do their job to look after vulnerable children, provide social care, to maintain libraries and leisure facilities and much more - all of them being whittled away and physically removed from view in our built environment.
This stuff matters. This is the glue that holds us together.
We’ve long since lost our publicly owned energy suppliers, British Gas and the Electricity Boards.
The deregulation and privatisation, with the plethora of energy retailers foisted upon us ever since, has legitimised the exploitation of customers and workers all for the benefit of profiteers.
The Tories will be out of office soon but the damage they leave behind is colossal, but if we are to turn this around and rebuild our institutions, we have to reject the inherent ideology of the Tory party which has been so utterly corrosive and destructive.
As we head towards the next general election it is incumbent upon my party, the Labour Party, to tell the truth about what's gone wrong and be bold about how to fix it.
Andy McDonald is the Labour MP for Middlesbrough, and the former Shadow Secretary of Employment RIghts and Protections.