Post protest brings Kingston to a standstill
Over a thousand people, including hundreds of postal workers, their families and supporters took the CWU's Keep the Post Public message to the streets of Kingston in Surrey on Saturday.
Ed Davey MP - the government Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs - represents the Kingston Constituency in Parliament and Saturday's protest was aimed at bringing home to Mr Davey the strength of feeling against Royal Mail privatisation.
"We're waking up Ed Davey and we're waking up Kingston," CWU general secretary Billy Hayes told the crowd at a rally before the demonstration headed off.
Billy went on to argue that the government's plans were not representative of the views of the UK public, who have shown their opposition to the Royal Mail sale in opinion polls taken among voters of all three political parties.
Deputy general secretary Dave Ward warned that postal workers would be fully justified in taking industrial action to defend their terms and conditions of employment if these came under threat through the privatisation process.
"Whatever happens at Westminster, if we have to take action to defend our members then we will," Dave vowed, adding that privatisation was not in the "interests of this country, the workforce or businesses."
Speakers from the Labour Party's Young Labour organisation, local Labour parliamentary candidate Max Freedman, students and the teachers' union NUT general secretary Christine Blower also pledged their support to the CWU campaign, after which surprise guest "Her Majesty the Queen" arrived.
"Rise up my subjects and together, let us all fight to Keep the Post Public," she urged the audience, who cheered at this apparent Royal approval. Protesters then set off, marching through Kingston to the surprise and interest of Saturday shoppers, lead by a drumming band to the banks of the River Thames.