THE full price for the capitulation of the CWU leadership over the privatisation of Royal Mail is now rapidly emerging.
The union, which halted the privatisation drive of the Blair-Brown Labour governments, saw its leadership surrender without a fight to privatisation under the Tories.
This is after 96% of postal workers voted to take action against privatisation in a 74% turn out in the June 2013 ballot.
With the membership of the union more than ready to fight, and with the whole working class behind them, the leadership of the CWU capitulated without a fight. It accepted privatisation in October 2013 insisting that it would not mean the end of the postal service, and that the union was negotiating for much better wages and working conditions.
The privatisation was welcomed by big business, who stampeded to purchase shares when the government sold the industry off on the cheap for £3.3bn, with share prices rapidly rising to £6.6bn – making a huge killing for the capitalists who bought shares cheap and then sold them for vast profits just a few days after their initial purchases.
Now, just over a year later, Royal Mail has warned that rival delivery firms are endangering its government-mandated Universal Service commitment, which guarantees delivery of letters to all of the UK. Royal Mail cannot continue funding a universal delivery guarantee for much longer.
The truth is no universal delivery guarantee means no Royal Mail and tens of thousands of sackings!
‘The threat is now,’ the company’s boss, Moya Greene, said yesterday.
The company also said increased parcel delivery competition, from firms such as Amazon, would wipe hundreds of millions of pounds off its revenues.
Royal Mail has long called for the government to reconsider the terms of the Universal Service obligation and has named delivery service Whistl, formerly known as TNT, as a direct threat, saying the new firm could wipe £200m off Royal Mail’s revenue by 2018.
The firm also warned that online retailer Amazon’s direct delivery service could hurt Royal Mail’s growth by as much as 2%.
The same CWU leaders, that stood by and allowed the privatisation of Royal Mail, are now urging the Tory-led coalition, that favours the complete destruction of the Royal Mail, to step in and rescue it!
The CWU is calling for the government to introduce a cap on competition to Royal Mail. ‘Regulator Ofcom should introduce an immediate cap on competition to Royal Mail’ says the CWU.
The feeble CWU leaders, who had the whole of the union behind them in opposition to privatisation and for action to stop it, now argue that a cap would help to ‘support a healthy, sustainable level of competition in the postal sector’ and ensure the future of the universal service obligation (USO).
Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, urged: ‘Ofcom must urgently put a cap on unregulated competition to Royal Mail if it wants to secure the future of the universal postal service. At the moment it seems to favour its duty to promote competition in the postal sector instead of ensuring the financial sustainability of the USO.’
The leadership of the CWU remains on its knees, its most favoured position!
After the Royal Mail announcement on the reconsidering of the terms of the Universal Service Obligation, the membership and the branches of the CWU must demand and insist on the calling of an emergency conference of the union to confront this threat to the jobs and the livelihoods of every CWU member.
Item 1 on the agenda of such a conference must be the sacking of the CWU leadership that ignored the wishes of the membership and accepted privatisation.
Item 2 must be the calling of indefinite strike action by the union to demand the renationalisation of the industry and that a request be made to the general council of the TUC that every trade union support this action and come out in sympathy.
All demands that the membership should wait in the hope that a Labour government will be elected and will renationalise must be dismissed. Labour, if elected, will seek to carry on with Tory policies.
There is no alternative, the CWU must take action to secure renationalisation and demand the active support of every trade union!