Postal workers yesterday expressed their anger at the government’s determination to part-privatise Royal Mail.
‘If Mandelson is determined to push this through, our only option may well be a national strike,’ warned Communication Workers Union (CWU) Eastern Region Secretary Paul Moffat yesterday.
He was responding to Business Secretary Mandelson’s reaction to the rebellion by 66 Labour MPs who have signed an Early Day Motion opposing the part-privatisation of Royal Mail.
Mandelson told MPs on the House of Commons business select committee that inviting ‘a minority stakeholder into the Royal Mail’ with ‘expertise and experience of turning round a postal operator’ will ‘bring us not only investment resources and, if necessary, cash to modernise the Royal Mail and increase its efficiency’.
He added that ‘it will also bring a gale force of fresh air into the management and control of the Royal Mail’.
Moffat told News Line: ‘Our region will fight privatisation tooth and nail and plans to sell off another publicly owned asset. But it needs national action.
‘We want some honesty from the government and the business about the future of the postal service.
‘We as a union need to be in the fight for what we want and what the customers want.’
The CWU national leadership welcomed the Early Day Motion put down by Geraldine Smith MP calling for a modern, publicly-owned Royal Mail.
Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said: ‘The Royal Mail is a successful and vital public service which does not need private capital to ensure modernisation.
‘We strongly welcome this Early Day Motion which reflects the opinions of millions of ordinary people.
‘The public is fed-up with privatisation and has suffered enough from flogging off public assets.
‘The Labour Party has a clear commitment to a wholly publicly owned Royal Mail. This EDM is further proof of the commitment of Labour MPs to a modern public postal service.’
Dutch firm TNT, one of Royal Mail’s main rivals in the UK postal market, is believed to be the frontrunner to acquire a 30 per cent stake in Royal Mail.
The early day motion put before Parliament yesterday says the plans ‘risk fracturing one of Britain’s greatest public services’.
Mover Geraldine Smith said: ‘In recent years it has been exposed to ever-increasing, unfair competition by the regulator.’
She added: ‘Part-privatisation is not the answer.’
Labour MP John Grogan, questioned why Royal Mail needed additional financial support when it received a £1.2bn state loan to upgrade its sorting network as recently as 2007.
Mandelson and Brown are determined to push through legislation with the support of the Tories and Liberal Democrats.