Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/638/10218

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 September 2010

Royal Mail: Con-Demned to history?

THE ANNOUNCEMENT by business secretary Vince Cable last week that the Con-Dem coalition intends to sell off Royal Mail (RM) came as no surprise to anyone in my office.

Coventry postal worker

The exact details are still to be revealed but it's believed that a compromise between the Tories and their Liberal poodles will involve the privatisation of the majority of RM (most likely to a state-owned European postal operator, ironically) with the remainder held 'in trust' for the workers.

This portion of shares would provide dividend payments while remaining unable to be sold, at least for a few years. It is also intended to neuter the Communications Workers' Union (CWU) by discouraging workers from opposing a sell-off or from taking industrial action against attacks on pay, pensions and workloads. After all, who would want to hurt the company financially when they're a shareholder!?

Deficit

The Con-Dem argument for selling RM is that the company needs 'an injection of capital' to allow further modernisation and to reduce the pension deficit of 8.4 billion (down from 10.3 billion last year). This argument falls down on both counts and is shown up to be the ideological claptrap it really is.

First, workers in RM created profits of 321 million in 2009 and 408 million in 2010 during the worst recession in living memory and in the face of (supposedly) falling mail volumes, doing more work for the same wage with less staff.

Second, the pension deficit which successive governments allowed to build up, while siphoning off profits, has reduced over the last 12 months by 1.9 billion and under a plan agreed between RM and the fund's trustees, the deficit will be eliminated over 38 years as a result of increased funding by the business.

There is a third reason now being spouted by RM's new chief executive, Moya Greene, as to why privatisation is necessary and that is the 1.2 billion loan New Labour made to the company for modernisation. Repayment began this year but I was unable to find any figures as to how much this is. Greene has stated that she is seeking to suspend the repayments, otherwise RM will become insolvent by Christmas.

Greene has been in the job since June, having previously been in charge of Canada Post, where she was extremely unpopular with the workforce. Profits increased in her time there but so did injuries at work, grievances and strikes.

The Montreal Gazette (27/5/10) was under no illusions as to why she was head-hunted by RM: "Moya Greene is going to the UK to execute something the Canadian government doesn't yet have the political appetite for here - privatising the mail service."

The issue of RM's finances in relation to the loan were commented on by John McFall, then chairman of the Treasury select committee (the Guardian 17/6/09). He questioned (former business secretary) Peter Mandelson and (former RM chief) Adam Crozier's assertion that privatisation was the only way of ensuring RM's modernisation programme was completed.

They had said that the company needed hundreds of millions but McFall argued that, as this was not billions, then the government could convert some of its loan to equity as sole shareholder, or simply reschedule the loan repayments.

Whatever happens to RM in the future will depend on what action we take now. The CWU needs to make it clear to workers and the public exactly what privatising the postal service would mean - job cuts, wage cuts, increased workload, reduced or withdrawn services and public subsidies for private companies.

As a union we need to raise the consciousness of workers and the public and link the fight to the anti-cuts campaigns and to organise and cooperate with other unions planning action, like the London FBU, RMT and PCS.

Royal Mail has existed for 350 years but if the Con-Dems get their way, it could be lost forever within 350 days.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 15 September 2010:

Join the fight against cuts


Socialist Party editorial

Decisive action can defeat this government


TUC congress

TUC backs youth jobs demo

TUC told to name the day

TUC: Build for action against cuts


Socialist Party youth and students

Stop the 'slippery slope' to two-tier education

How will the Browne Review into university funding affect you?

Student strikes can win results


Feature: Socialist Party women

Women and the struggle against oppression


Socialist Party news and analysis

Royal Mail: Con-Demned to history?

Privatisation's giant wrecking ball

Fight the jobs cuts massacre

Middlesborough local union-led public services alliance set up

Fast news

General strike in France

Osborne targets the needy

Labour councillors challenged in Hastings

Shropshire: showing socialist alternative gets results


Socialist Party workplace news

London Underground: Action biting against job cuts

UCU executive pulls out of strike ballot

Fight for jobs at GSK

Workplace news in brief


Anti-cuts campaign

Mood of defiance in Huddersfield

Hull park rangers protest

How do we vote to stop the cuts?

Nottinghamshire: Campaign saves vital service

Lobbies warn councils of workers' action


Socialism 2010

Socialism 2010: How can we save the environment?


International socialist news and analysis

All-India general strike: Eyewitness report from Chennai

Fighting oppression in Kazakhstan


Socialist Party review

The Third Man


 

Home   |   The Socialist 15 September 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Royal Mail:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangleSet for national strike action

triangleCWU strike ballot to win 'Four Pillars'

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

Privatisation:

triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangleSave our NHS

triangleSchool staff strike against privatisation

Cuts:

triangleBradford campaign to save children's services launched

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

CWU:

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2