The Government is pressing ahead with controversial plans to sell off the Royal Mail later this year – despite opposition from groups including the Communication Workers Union.
Today, at the union’s annual conference, delegates will urge Labour to give a “clear and unequivocal commitment” that following privatisation of all or part of the Royal Mail, the next Labour Government will renationalise it within three years of coming to power.
The union’s executive is not supporting the call, but will back another motion to offer full support to campaigns against privatisation.
Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: “Privatisation is an old-fashioned idea. We’ve seen it fail in areas such as the rail industry where prices have soared and safety standards and services to customers were left in disarray.
“Our conference will be re-stating the CWU’s opposition to the planned privatisation of Royal Mail which we don’t believe is in the interests of customers, the workforce or the wider industry.
“We want a modern Royal Mail in full public ownership and able to deliver the universal service six days a week to all parts of the UK. We’ve had the full support of the Labour Party in that desire in the past and have no reason to believe that will not be so again.”
The union warned in a special edition of its magazine that privatisation would be the “ultimate wrecking ball” for UK postal services, leading to the break up of the company.
A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: “Royal Mail has improved its financial position, but we need to do more to put ourselves on a sound footing. By obtaining access to external money, we can invest in the business. We can secure as many jobs as possible, although we will be a smaller company in the future.
“The Government has made it clear it does not have the capital itself to invest in Royal Mail. It wants that capital to come from the private sector.
“Any sale is a matter for the Government. The six-days-a-week, one-price-goes-anywhere, affordable service can only be changed by both Houses of Parliament. Ofcom, the independent regulator, has a primary duty to protect the Universal Service. It has ruled out any changes to the scope of the Universal Service.
“Daily deliveries to rural areas will not be reduced in the event of Royal Mail being provided with access to external capital.”
A Business Department spokesperson said: “Regardless of ownership, Royal Mail will provide the universal postal service with six-day per week delivery and collection at uniform and affordable prices. “This commitment is protected in primary legislation, the Government has no intention of downgrading it, and only Parliament could change it.”
dailyalternative | alternative news – Privatising the Royal Mail will ‘wreck’ the UK’s postal service, warn workers