ROYAL MAIL bosses, Chairman Allan Leighton and Chief Executive Adam Crozier, are calling on the Labour government to give the go-ahead for them to issue shares to bring in private capital.
This will give private investors a degree of control over this vital state-owned public service and provide them a cut of its profits.
The call is part of management’s submission to the government’s commission reviewing Royal Mail’s universal postal service. Royal Mail said this would provide the ‘crucial risk capital’ needed to speed up its implementation of market disciplines and fund high salaries to new ‘management talent’.
Its call is part of a concerted campaign by the top management and the government’s regulator PostComm, which called for the state-owned Royal Mail to be opened up to private capital investment last week.
Leighton and Crozier are also calling on Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government to give them a free hand to run Royal Mail as a business, leaving only the price of stamps and metered mail regulated.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) yesterday rejected Royal Mail’s call to issue shares to private investors. A CWU spokeswoman said: ‘We are completely opposed to a shares issue. This has been our policy for some time. We would regard that as part privatisation.’
Earlier this week, the union made its submission to the government’s commission, which is reviewing competition and the universal postal service, that will report in October.
CWU General Secretary Billy Hayes said: ‘Postcomm has proved itself incompetent by bringing about a reduction in service provision and undermining the universal service through the way it implemented competition.
‘It is now again acting beyond its remit by examining the ownership of Royal Mail. We expect the review team to stick to its brief and leave the ownership issue to government, which has pledged to keep Royal Mail in the public sector.’
Royal Mail management are attempting to make postal workers pay for the crisis. Thousands of jobs have been axed, flexible working is being imposed and Royal Mail management wants increased pension contributions, to raise the pension age and to cut pensions.
Hayes and CWU Deputy General Secretary Dave Ward are responsible for allowing Leighton and Crozier to get away with these attacks. They sold out the strikes last year and accepted a deal that gave Royal Mail bosses job cuts and flexible working.
They are up to the same game over privatisation. The CWU leaders declare they are ‘completely opposed to a shares issue’, but Hayes says he wants to ‘leave the ownership issue to the government’. This is dangerous!
Leighton and Crozier were appointed by the Labour government. The regulator PostComm was also set up by the government. Both want private capitalists to take part-ownership and control of Royal Mail. It is clear that the Brown government wants to privatise Royal Mail, if it could get away with it.
The fight to defend Royal Mail as a state-owned public service, delivering a cheap and efficient universal postal service, requires a political struggle in which postal workers and the CWU must play a leading role.
Any attempt to bring private capital into Royal Mail must be met with a national strike by the CWU. This will win the support of the whole working class and large sections of the middle class, who want to defend this essential public service.
A new revolutionary leadership must be built in the CWU to lead this fight and to replace Hayes, Ward and company, who betrayed last year’s strikes.
The whole trade union movement must be mobilised in a general strike to defend Royal Mail and all essential services by bringing down the Brown government, which is spearheading the privatisation of all state-owned services.
It must be replaced with a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies.
Join the Workers Revolutionary Party today and fight to organise a new leadership in the trades unions!