Postal workers called for action to defend their jobs and Royal Mail as a public service in response to yesterday’s publication of the government’s Postal Services Bill.
‘The government has wasted no time in flogging off the country’s state assets without exploring other options,’ declared Communication Workers Union general secretary Billy Hayes.
He warned: ‘Handing postal services over to the City spivs and gamblers that Vince Cable recently denounced, but is now feeding, will be bad news for everyone.
‘Universal services will be reduced by a privatised company interested in the bottom line, not the communities served by Royal Mail. The separation of Royal Mail from the post office counters is a fatal step.
‘The commercial imperative will be for a privatised Royal Mail to use retail services other than the Post Office. A seven-year guarantee is a seven-year death sentence for local branches.’
CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward added: ‘We’ve worked hard to improve industrial relations and tackle the big issues in the industry. Privatisation will threaten all this progress.’
He added: ‘We’re very concerned that privatisation will undermine the whole concept of a universal service. In turn, this will put even more pressure to cut jobs and services.’
CWU Eastern Region secretary Paul Moffat said: ‘They are selling off 90 per cent of Royal Mail – ten per cent of nothing is nothing.
‘There is no benefit to employees nor to Royal Mail’s public service.
‘Jobs will be on the line. We will have to fight this politically and mobilise our members for industrial action to defend both their jobs and the public service Royal Mail provides.’
South east London CWU rep Billy Colvill added: ‘Thousands of our members will do everything it takes to defend their jobs and our public service.
‘Our union has to mount a campaign against the privatisation, including industrial action, and to make public sector alliance for a general strike to bring this government down.’
The government said the Royal Mail Bill means: ‘Royal Mail will be able to benefit from an injection of private capital – ending the dependence on funding from the taxpayer and bringing new commercial disciplines into the business.
‘Alongside private sector investment: at least ten per cent of the shares in Royal Mail will go to its employees in the future.
‘Royal Mail will be relieved of its enormous historic pension deficit by the government.’
The existing regulator, Postcomm, will be replaced by Ofcom, the communications regulator.
The Bill provides for the Post Office to be ‘converted into a mutual structure as part of innovative new plans to hand the ownership and running of the Post Office to employees, sub postmasters and local communities.’