Thanks to my previous involvement with the Burslem 12 I know a little bit about Royal Mail. In one of the more shameful episodes of New Labour's history, a profitable public-owned company was subject to ideologically-motivated marketisation under the guise of "modernisation". Private couriers like DHL and UPS were *given access* to the Royal Mail infrastructure (a bit like Tesco letting Asda use its distribution network); workers pay, pensions and conditions attacked; and managers oversaw a culture of incompetence and bullying. Late deliveries, galloping postal costs, soured industrial relations - all of these were consequences of softening up Royal Mail ready for privatisation. And they're bound to get worse: the Tories and LibDems are hellbent on selling it off.
This is what the Communication Workers' Union has to say:
The UK postal service is under threat for the third time in a decade, and the nation is facing the prospect of losing a cherished public institution. Join us in our campaign to keep the post public.The CWU has a rolling series of campaigning events from Monday on. You can find out more about them here.
Throughout its long history, Royal Mail has provided a vital public service to isolated rural and urban communities alike across the length and breadth of the country, providing a unique one-price-goes-anywhere daily service. We are convinced that 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 small businesses, domestic customers, vulnerable groups and communities.
Privatising the Royal Mail is deeply unpopular:
- 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
- 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
Royal Mail is a successful company in a strong position:
1. Royal Mail made £321 million profit in 2009 and £404 million in 2010, a rise of 26 per cent
2. The modernisation of Royal Mail is fully funded. There is no need for external financial investment from private backers
3. The recently agreed Business Transformation Agreement 2010 provides an outline for the modernisation of Royal Mail in a highly competitive market and already has the full support of both staff and management
4. Royal Mail is experiencing a period of prolonged stability for the first time in a decade. The upheaval of a sell-off would undo the good work that has already been done, and undermine any further successful implementation of the agreement
In order to help Royal Mail keep its competitive edge in a constantly evolving market, the CWU proposes that the company should follow a business-centric model. In its recommendations, the CWU proposes that business leaders with experience of the private sector would be employed to expand the knowledge and expertise within the company.
In addition, the CWU recommends that regional business boards be created to give local employees a grassroots voice in national decision-making.
The focus of the Keep the Post Public campaign is to maximise pressure on the coalition to get them to understand the public are opposed to privatisation, and to persuade the Government to think again.
CWU is supporting the formation of local, broad-based campaign committees in partnership with residents and members of other organisations.
For further information on our campaign, please contact the CWU at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, keep checking the campaign events, diary and media pages for up-to-date information. Follow us on twitter and facebook.
Bloggers are also encouraged to blog for Keeping the Post Public. Details here. If you write in solidarity with the CWU they will add you to their roll of honour. So what are you waiting for?