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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 May 2017

Support Corbyn's call to renationalise Royal Mail

CWU strike 2009, photo Paul Mattsson

CWU strike 2009, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Carl Harper, CWU member (personal capacity)

Privatising Royal Mail was a privatisation too far for Margaret Thatcher. So how did it come to pass that 499 years of public ownership ended in 2015 with the remaining 30% of shares being floated on the London Stock Exchange, following the majority being sold two years earlier?

The Postal Services Act 2011, which paved the way for privatisation, was introduced by the Tory and Lib Dem Coalition.

The government claimed that selling off the public service would raise the necessary funds through private capital to 'modernise' the business. Then chancellor George Osbourne had committed to public sector spending cuts to meet his deficit-reduction targets, meaning that any necessary investment certainly wouldn't be provided by the state. The government rushed through a 3.3 billion firesale.

The 'creation' of a million private sector jobs in 'rebalancing the economy' which the government regularly boasted about, undoubtedly included the 170,000 Royal Mail employees who were shifted from the public to the private sector virtually overnight.

Opposition

As a Communication Workers Union (CWU) activist I remember being surprised and frustrated at how the union leadership was seemingly caught flat-footed by the sale. Only a "consultative ballot" was held, finding 96% of workers were opposed to the sale, joining 70% of the public. But not a single day of strike action was held to fight it.

The sale grossly defrauded the public. Royal Mail was valued at up to 10 billion by American bank JP Morgan - three times the eventual float figure. CitiBank valued it at 7.3 billion and Deutsche Bank between 6.4 and 6.9 billion.

The government decided to float the company on a share price of 330p. Within a week the share price had broken the 500p mark, an increase of nearly 50%, making the market valuation a whopping 1.7 billion higher than the government's sale price. The public has continued to be robbed of billions of pounds.

I'm therefore obviously delighted with Jeremy Corbyn's announcement that his Labour government would renationalise Royal Mail. The case is strong, has the support of the majority of the public and with the correct programme of development could prove to be hugely beneficial in the first steps towards a genuinely modernised telecommunications and postal industry. Royal Mail has always been, and will continue to be, profitable in public ownership.

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In The Socialist 17 May 2017:


Kick out the Tories! Corbyn can win

Kick out the Tories: For a Corbyn-led government

Tories out! Corbyn can win with socialist policies

Corbyn's manifesto: An important step in the right direction

TUSC confirms no candidates in June

Suprise rally with Jeremy Corbyn in Morley

Corbyn's alternative for young people

Corbyn could re-win Scotland with a socialist approach to independence


Socialist Party news and analysis

One in three borrow for rent, Corbyn pledges housing revolution

Tories escape election fraud charges

NHS cyberattack: budget cuts and spy agency to blame

31,000 more kids at risk of abuse or neglect


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS election: Increased majority for Democracy Alliance

Support Corbyn's call to renationalise Royal Mail

CWU walkout wins large concessions

Blackpool deserves better - anti-austerity rally

Unison must back Corbyn's pledge to abolish zero-hour contracts with action

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist ideas are energising young people

Fund the fight against the Tories

Packed meeting sets out socialist policies needed to defeat the Tories


International socialist news and analysis

Palestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike protest

Brazil: General strike against Temer regime


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Barcelona May Days 1937 - a civil war within a civil war

The story of workers from Hull who fought in the Spanish Civil War

The Socialist inbox


 

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