Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/395/4491

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 June 2005

Royal Mail:

It is privatisation and it is as we know it

THE GOVERNMENT appears to be supporting plans by Royal Mail to give 51% shares to the workforce, described by some as a John Lewis-style partial privatisation. Alan Johnson, who is trade and industry secretary but also a former postal worker and general secretary of the Communications Workers Union (CWU), says that these plans would not break Labour's commitment to keep the company publicly owned.

By a Royal Mail worker and CWU member

But it is clear that this is privatisation by the back door. Even the Tory spokesman, David Willetts, the shadow trade and industry secretary, said: "Call me old fashioned, but what happened to the idea that you fought the election on a manifesto and then stuck to it?" The Labour government is lying to the postal workers and to their union, the CWU. It should be another nail in the coffin of union support for the Labour Party.

The CWU has threatened to disaffiliate from the Labour Party but given what's at stake, this is completely inadequate. The only language Tony Blair understands, as the pensions issue before the general election showed, is the language of action.

The CWU must mobilise its members now before it's too late. Privatisation will mean massive job losses, falling wages and worsening conditions. You only have to look at other parts of the public sector to see the effects of privatisation.

Pretending to hide behind the veil of 'employee ownership' or 'workers' shares' will not fool anybody. The Post Office bosses have cut 30,000 jobs as a prelude to this plan. They hope that the postal workers have been softened up enough to accept it.

Alan Johnson and Allen Leighton think they can get postal workers' support by giving out shares. But given the low pay of most postal workers, it wouldn't be too long before the shares end up in the hands of big investors. This is despite the fact that Leighton and Co claim that it would be like the John Lewis partnership.

John Lewis staff this year got an annual bonus worth about seven week's pay. This was because of a 24% rise in annual profits last year. £106 million was shared amongst 63,000 workers. But in the first five weeks of the new financial year, sales were down 1% in the non-food sector.

So any drop in Royal Mail profits, over which postal workers would have no control, would hit pay packets hard, even if payments are dressed up as 'bonuses'.

More likely postal workers would end up like United Airline (UA) workers in the USA - without any pensions. The US courts have allowed the company to welch on its pensions obligations to its 120,000-strong workforce and UA unions have vowed to strike to fight this.

What will happen to Royal Mail when the business is under attack from the end of this year, when the letter delivery monopoly ends? The parasitic private sector is waiting to grab the most profitable parts of letter delivery for themselves. This will undoubtedly lead to a crisis in the new 'worker-owned' Royal Mail, which will be made much worse once the economy moves into recession.

Only by keeping the Post Office in the public sector, with a monopoly of letter delivery (to maintain the principle of universal delivery to anywhere in the country at a uniform price) can a decent service be maintained.

If society and the working class as a whole are to have any chance of keeping a decent publicly owned Post Office then this privatisation has to be stopped dead in its tracks. It is up to the union leaders to lead, and that means preparing the members to take action in defence of jobs and services and against privatisation.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 2 June 2005:

Say no to the bosses' profit system

EU constitution defeated

Why French workers voted 'no' to EU referendum

Defend adult education

ID cards: £300 for a snooper's card!

The campaign for Socialism 2005 begins now

Capitalism can't solve AIDS crisis

"Struggle or death" - Pakistan telecoms workers fight privatisation

Germany: Political turmoil after the elections

Iraq: coalition plans floundering

Labour court awards Gama workers €8,000

Striking back at pay-cutting bosses

BBC offer must be rejected

It is privatisation and it is as we know it

Coventry single status dispute: the stakes are raised

FE lecturers fight for pay deal

Job losses expose Manchester's 'boom'


 

Home   |   The Socialist 2 June 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Royal Mail:

triangleSupport Gary Clark for CWU executive

triangleCWU elections: Vote for a fighting, campaigning, socialist EC member

triangleA day in the life of an agency worker

triangleRoyal mail management forced to make concessions

triangleRoyal Mail: No more behind closed doors talks

Privatisation:

triangleLondon floods: Privatisation and heavy rain are a dangerous mix

triangleFight the health and care bill

triangleGreat British Railways shake-up offers no end to profiteering

triangleHaringey: Hands off our GP practices

CWU:

triangleOver 3,000 votes for fighting socialist programme in CWU

triangleTelecoms workers angry at CWU deal with BT

triangleCWU members' resolve to strike still firm as union enters talks

Postal workers:

triangleStop Royal Mail's profit-driven plans to force postal workers to share vans

trianglePostal workers' action results in double victory for union

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

15/9/21

Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire Unison: 'Recognise our union!'

15/9/21

Students

Returning to campus: Students need to fight

15/9/21

Youth Fight for Jobs

We won't pay for capitalism's failings

15/9/21

Labour

Oaks Park school: Redbridge Labour council backs strike-breaking bullies

15/9/21

Students

Scrap tuition fees - end university marketisation

15/9/21

Oxford

Campaigning for socialism at Oxford Brookes Uni

15/9/21

Youth Fight for Jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs launches campaign in Brighton

15/9/21

Chichester

Putting socialism on the map in Chichester

15/9/21

Nottingham

Reclaiming Pride as protest in Nottingham

15/9/21

Hospitals

Solidarity to the striking workers at Charité and Vivantes hospitals in Berlin

15/9/21

Fighting Fund

Fighting fund target reached: Help us continue to raise our banner and programme

15/9/21

NHS

On the frontline, and still fighting for the NHS

15/9/21

Review

TV review - Grenfell: The Untold Story

15/9/21

Labour

Goodlord dispute: Labour's leadership weasled out of backing strike action

15/9/21

Jobs

Save jobs and services - nationalise rail

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999