Friday, 11 October 2013

Royal Mail Sell Off

"The arguments against privatisation are clear cut. It will lead to higher prices for small businesses and domestic consumers. A privatised Royal Mail will lobby to end the six-day delivery and uniform tariff. It will lead to a deterioration in rural areas and areas defined as "non-profitable." The new priority will be shareholder dividends over the service standards. There will be a drive to worsen the wages and conditions of the postal workers.

On September 12 the government made its formal "announcement of intention to float" Royal Mail shares on the London stock exchange by an initial public offering. Since that time, the government has flooded the national press with adverts for the sale. Presumably it is hoping for a resurgence of "popular capitalism" - a rerun of 1980s myths. But in reality the government is in some difficulty.

Not only has it had to contend with a very clear opposition from the CWU but recently Unite, which organises Royal Mail managers, voted against privatisation in a consultative ballot. Further, the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters/Postmistresses, which represents the franchise-holders in post offices, issued an instruction to its members not to handle the material for the sale.

So the government cannot claim any popular support among the workforce for its jolly vision of a workers' stakeholding in a privatised Royal Mail. The government has not been any more successful in persuading the public of the validity of the sale. The most recent opinion polls registered 70 per cent and 67 per cent against the sale.

The crunch is whether the private markets are convinced. Certainly it is difficult for the government to explain that the workforce is preparing for a strike just as the sale is being prepared. The CWU issued a notice to the employer on Friday September 20. The ballot papers go out on the September 27, and the result will be declared on the October 16." - The Morning Star

Save Our Royal Mail

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