Stop Royal Mail being thrown to the private equity wolves!

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POSTCOMM, the postal regulator has called for the part privatisation of the Royal Mail, supposedly to safeguard the quality of the UK’s mail delivery service.

In fact, any decline in ‘quality’ is a consequence of the 2006 government imposed breaking up of the postal monopoly, when 19 private companies, including TNT Post were allowed to hive off the most profitable parts of the industry.

Postcomm further warned that Royal Mail’s financial difficulties would worsen unless bold action was taken.

In fact, only a fraction of the billions that the Royal Mail has made for the government, would be needed to end all talk of a financial crisis!

Postcomm chairman Nigel Stapleton is said to favour private equity capitalists taking over the Royal Mail.

Postcomm is to make this proposal to the so-called ‘independent’ review on the future of postal services that has been commissioned by the government’s Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

One week ago the independent review reported in an initial finding that the ‘liberalisation’ of Royal Mail, which still controls 90% of the postal industry, had produced ‘no significant benefits’ for either households or small businesses.

It warned there was now a threat to the Royal Mail’s financial stability, and that this would threaten the universal service, and the collection and delivery to all UK addresses.

The government sponsored ‘independent’ panel also warned that the ‘status quo is not tenable’.

‘The policies needed to establish a sustainable future will be the focus of our final report later this year,’ it said.

The way has been prepared by the government sponsored review for Postcomm to submit its privatisation proposal for its final report.

With the status quo untenable, the argument will be that it is impossible to go back to 100% state ownership, and that part privatisation is the only way forward, with full privatisation the real destination.

Royal Mail and over 100,000 workers are about to be thrown to the wolves of equity capitalism where slashing wages, pensions, jobs and trade union rights are the only known route back to profitability for the bosses, along with pauperism for what will be, by that time, a casualised workforce – if this is allowed to happen.

All that CWU leader Billy Hayes could do yesterday was to say: ‘This is another bad decision by Postcomm following their many bad decisions which have led to the problems in the industry.

‘Postcomm are again overstepping their remit with this report. They have consistently been obsessed with the drive to develop the competition model and calling for privatisation is another step from an organisation that is ignoring their public service obligation.’

In fact, what is required from the CWU leaders is not a comment but a call to the union to take indefinite industrial action to stop the privatisation drive.

The CWU leaders are incapable of giving such a lead.

Their record in the last year is appalling.

When members took strike action over the massive changes in the conditions of service that the Royal Mail and the government required last year, they stopped the strikes in favour of secret talks and sold out their members.

They are now doing the same on the pensions issue.

Royal Mail announced last year that the final salary pension was unsustainable and the union leaders agreed with them, that this pension scheme was no longer workable and would have to be replaced.

That is a great way to defend the gains of the postal workers.

The consequence of these betrayals is that the management and the government have got their way on wages and terms and conditions of service, and are getting their way on the pensions issue, to the point where they are ready to go forward to the privatisation of the industry.

CWU members must demand that their leaders resign and make way for leaders who are willing to fight. Indefinite strike action must be called to defend the final salary pensions scheme and stop the privatisation drive.