CWU will not stand forLabour Party betrayal over Royal Mail privatisation

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CWU Midlands Region banner on the recent Milton Keynes march against mail centre closures
CWU Midlands Region banner on the recent Milton Keynes march against mail centre closures

THE Communication Workers Union will collect petitions and raise public awareness of the threats to privatise Royal Mail when it descends on Corby Town at 11am Friday, February 20.

This follows the refusal of Phil Hope MP to sign EDM (Early Day Motion) 428 opposing the privatisation of Royal Mail and his recent use of a private mail courier TNT.

Mick Fitzmaurice, CWU Branch Secretary for the Northamptonshire Amalgamated Branch says: ‘Phil Hope and any other Labour Party MP need to remember their opposition to privatisation under Margaret Thatcher and the Labour Party manifesto 2005.

‘More recently the Labour Party conference 2008 again committed to a wholly public Royal Mail.

‘If Mr. Hope or any other Labour Party MP believes that the CWU will stand idly by whilst they betray the British people by reneging on their manifesto, they are living in cloud cuckoo land.

‘Our members in Corby are bitterly disappointed in Phil Hope and his failure to stand up for them against the destructive privatisation plans.

‘It seems that Mr. Hope is more interested in placing his career prospects before representing the people of Corby who he knows would not support the privatisation of Royal Mail anymore today than they did when they campaigned with the CWU and Labour Party activists to successfully defeat privatisation the last time.

‘I have written to Phil Hope regarding his use of private mail courier TNT and his outrageous response to one of our Corby members when he was challenged for not supporting Royal Mail.

‘He is happy to exploit the loopholes in unfair competition by employing TNT to sort his mail and then he feels justified in supporting Royal Mail by saying that Royal Mail then delivers it to its destination.

‘This typifies an MP that clearly does not understand the issues concerning the Universal Service Obligation (USO) and an MP that would rather exploit the unlevel playing field rather than roll his sleeves up and fight to address the injustice of unfair competition.

‘The CWU will now engage with the public in Corby to ensure that Phil Hope knows that if he continues to support Peter Mandelson’s plans to privatise Royal Mail then does so without the support of his constituents.

‘Letters and petitions will be hand delivered to Phil Hope at his constituent’s surgery in Corby at 2pm following the first public event on Friday 20th February. The CWU will be planning more public events to continue raising the issue.’

The following is a letter from Mick Fitzmaurice to Phil Hope MP, dated February 13 2009.

‘Dear Phil,

At the request of the Corby CWU Representative, John Kenrick, myself and Mark Batterham (CWU Chair) attended a meeting at the Corby delivery office this morning to discuss the position of Northamptonshire MPs regarding the CWU campaign to keep Royal Mail as a wholly publicly owned postal service.

‘The meeting was requested following your recent correspondence to the CWU and a letter which you sent to a CWU member 28.08.09 in relation to your use of a private courier.

‘To summarise our members views, they are deeply disappointed and offended by the way in which you have responded to our request to oppose the privatisation of Royal Mail in cohesion with Peter Mandelson.

‘To add further insult to injury you have written to our member giving assurances of your continual support for the Royal Mail and the Post Office Network as a whole. You wrote this on the same page as stating that TNT is used by the Labour Party for processing to reduce costs whilst quoting that the mail is still delivered to the door by Post Office workers.

‘By your very own admittance you are not supporting Royal Mail and I question your commitment too when you are willing to exploit the loopholes which the CWU has continually raised with you about unfair competition and Royal Mail fighting with one hand tied behind it’s back with its obligation to deliver the Universal Service Obligation (USO) to each and every UK home at a uniformed and affordable price.

‘In effect you are exploiting the unfair competition by only using Royal Mail to perform the most expensive and least profitable part of the service (USO) of which no other competitor is willing to deliver to (the final mile).

‘I would ask you to review your commitment to Royal Mail in total by defending the service as wholly publicly owned and highlighting to the government the same loopholes which you mention that are creating this uneven playing field.

‘In light of your response to the CWU in relation to signing and supporting Early Day Motion 428, the CWU members of Corby unanimously voted to take our campaign to the very heart of the Corby public.

‘Whilst you claim that your position prevents you from signing the EDM and you claim that an EDM is a petition to government of which you are a part of, you are first and foremost the Corby MP.

‘This Union and its members do not believe that you are putting the electorate in Corby first with your plans to privatise Royal Mail and we do not believe that you would ever succeed in privatising Royal Mail with public support in Corby.

‘You should be fully aware of the strength of feeling in Corby from previous attempts to privatise the industry, even Margaret Thatcher tried and failed whilst you, alongside every other Labour Party activist stood shoulder to shoulder with the CWU to successfully oppose this unpopular and unworkable privatisation.

‘The private mail competitors would not be interested in delivering where it is not profitable and it is rather ironic that Peter Mandelson is even contemplating privatisation at a time when the government is bailing out banks and bringing them back under public ownership.

‘The Conservative Party have a lot to answer for in respect of this Country selling off its public assets and it would be inconceivable for the Labour Party to now do similarly by placing Royal Mail in the hands of the private vultures who have ruined so many public services through their greed, mismanagement and solely profit before service.

‘Adam Crozier by his own admittance said recently that all parts of the Royal Mail group are now making profit. This is with the uneven playing field that we currently compete on and whilst Mr. Crozier enjoys his £3 Million pay packet each year. Royal Mail is also still sitting on 50% of the £1.2 Billion commercial loan from government which I understand is being repaid at around 12% interest, which is largely out of tune with today’s interest rates.

‘Your recent response to the CWU 4th February 09 makes mention to convention and your position regarding EDMs.

‘What about convention in respect of the commitment at the Labour Party conference 2008 and again enshrined within the Warwickshire agreement to a wholly publicly-owned Royal Mail? Two short sentences back to this Union and a cover letter to Peter Mandelson to accompany my earlier correspondence is far short of what this Union considers to be supportive or committed to a publicly-owned Royal Mail.

‘CWU members will be meeting with the public next week in Corby Town on Friday 20th February to raise public awareness of the slash and burn plans for Royal Mail. Unfortunately your surgeries do not run on an appointment basis so it was agreed this morning that CWU members will visit your surgery to make their views known directly to you. I hope that you will make yourself available to them.

‘In finality I would encourage you again to rethink your position regarding the request from the CWU to support EDM 428 and join the CWU and its members in supporting a wholly publicly owned Royal Mail in Corby Town next Friday.

‘I would also urge you to seriously consider the views of our customers / your voters, the Corby electorate if it is your intention to continue to support Peter Mandelson in his unpopular and destructive plans to privatise Royal Mail.

‘Thank you again for your attention in this matter and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely

Mick Fitzmaurice

CWU Branch Secretary

Northamptonshire Amalgamated Branch.’