Union demands Labour to save nationalised Royal Mail
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) held its annual conference in Bournemouth on Monday, demanding the Labour party to promise to re-nationalise the postal group if it is sold to shareholders or investors, should the party win the next general election.
The conference agreed an emergency motion to press Labour to repeal the Postal Service Act, which paved the way to the sell-off, as such move contradicts Labours’s manifesto commitment to a “publicly-owned Royal Mail”.
Delegates also expressed total opposition towards the coalition government’s move in privitising the Royal Mail by unanimously backing plans to relaunch the Union’s “Keep the Post Public” campaign.
John Woodhouse, a North-East London delegate, said: “We all know that privitisation was a key part of the Postal Services Act, but there’s still no moral or economic case for privitising the Royal Mail.”
The Union, which represents 140,000 Royal Mail employees, said the 30% increase in the price of first-class stamps from 30th April proves that selling the business will disadvantage consumers.
Richard Hooper, a businessman who advised the Government to privatise Royal Mail after leading a review in the postal service, told Sky News about such proposal: “The reason for this is the coming of email, the coming of the Internet and mobile-phone texting [which] have significantly eroded letter volumes.”
Royal Mail, founded in 1516, has seen its mail collection and delivery unit lose nearly £1bn in four years. The watchdog OfCom released a written statement that mail volumes would fall 40% in the next five years.
The postal organisation is one of the last publicly owned British institutions, and experts said there is a need for modernisation and investment. Ian Murray MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs said: “There is now a real danger that the Government will sell this proud institution cheaply, and that customers could see a hike in prices and a reduction in levels of service.”
Under a new framework it will now have the freedom to set its own prices for the majority of its products including First Class stamps and most business mail.
As the Financial Times stated, privatisation of Royal Mail will begin in autumn 2013, even though Royal Mail’s chief executive, Moya Greene, believes the first quarter of 2014 is a more likely date for any sale.