Con-Dem plans for Royal Mail "a disaster"

Workers’ Party General Secretary, John Lowry has expressed outrage at plans by the Con-Dem Coalition to privatise the Post Office after Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, said the Government was planning to sell off all of its shares in the company.

Speaking to Party members Mr. Lowry outlined the terms of the proposed sell-off. “The postal service is under threat for the third time in a decade, and once again we face the prospect of losing a cherished public institution. A YouGov poll in August 2010 showed that only 15 per cent of the public agree with privatising Royal Mail while 60 per cent believe the Royal Mail should remain a wholly publicly-owned organisation and an ICM poll last year found that 78 per cent of the public believed selling Royal Mail would be a bad deal for the taxpayer and 82 per cent of believed prices will go up.”


“Throughout its history,” Mr Lowry continued, “Royal Mail has provided a vital public service to isolated rural and urban communities alike across the North, providing a unique daily service. This will all go under privatisation because the need to turn a profit will undermine the public service ethos. Under the terms of the privatisation the first shares in Royal Mail would be offered for sale in 2012 and a small stake would be left in the hands of workers to buy their support for privatisation. Under the plans, the Government will either sell shares on the stock market, or to a private equity company or a rival of Royal Mail. Legislation to begin the sell off will be introduced this autumn and could be passed by next summer. The Postal Service Bill is currently at Committee stage. As the situation currently stands the Government is the only shareholder, of Royal Mail Holdings plc., which employs around 176,000 people UK-wide ”


 “It’s clear to me,” Mr Lowry continued, “ that the post office service has two very attractive elements which any private provider will not be able to sustain. These are, a national network of Post Offices and a ‘one-price-goes-anywhere’ mail service.  Moreover the Post Office is a well-trusted institution, based at the heart of many communities in Northern Ireland, which workers depend on for their communication and banking needs. Let’s make no bones about it:  privatisation will lead to widespread closure of Post Offices, jeopardise the uniform tariff and universal service for letters and lead to a deterioration of services, particularly for vulnerable groups and communities. On the 15th December hundreds of postal workers and their supporters will gather in central London to protest against these plans to privatise Royal Mail. We in the Workers’ Party send out our support to these workers, who are out in protest not just in defence of their jobs but also in defence of public service and the public good. We support these workers as  part of our overall campaign against the insane programme of  cuts, austerity  and  privatisation on both parts of this island.”

Peace, Work, Democracy and Class Politics