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Competition


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From: The Socialist issue 861, 24 June 2015: Organise the fightback!

Search site for keywords: Royal Mail - Profit - CWU - City Link - Competition

Regulator eyes Royal Mail for profit

Carl Harper, CWU Eastern 5 branch
Photo Paul Mattsson

Photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Communications regulator Ofcom has announced a "fundamental review" of Royal Mail. This could be the next step in turning the former state postal service, privatised in 2013, into a for-profit business.

Ofcom claims the review will "ensure regulation remains appropriate and sufficient to secure the universal postal service." However, the regulator will do this by reviewing Royal Mail's "performance". This is a coded expression for driving down working conditions.

The regulator has refused to act on complaints by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) about unfair competition - and the 'race to the bottom' in terms and conditions it creates. But now the collapse of private delivery firms City Link and Whistl means attacks can begin on Royal Mail, so Ofcom has sprung into life!

Royal Mail will face the same drive for profit over service which ruined City Link and Whistl. This will be disguised as a demand for greater 'efficiency'. As well as postal workers, it will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the public.

Expensive

Gas, electricity, water, rail and post were once publicly owned. They are now in private hands, and 'regulated' accordingly. The first four of those services are now among the most expensive in Europe, making fat profits. Royal Mail remains one of the cheapest - so it is no surprise this bosses' government has sent its regulator in.

The CWU missed the opportunity to call strikes against Royal Mail privatisation, despite strong indications members were willing. Labour opposition was non-existent.

Now it is imperative the membership is mobilised to fight attacks on our terms and conditions, and the quality and cost of the service. The National Shop Stewards Network conference on 4 July will be an ideal opportunity to discuss this.

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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 government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • 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.
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  • When the health crisis subsides, 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.
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