The Royal Mail sell-off is driven by ‘blinkered right-wing dogma’ and will lead to a worse service for businesses and the public, Unite, the country’s largest union, warned today (Thursday 12 September).
Unite, which has 8,000 managers working for Royal Mail, accused the government of selling off the ‘family silver’ and warned that there could be industrial action to save the profitable Royal Mail from being privatised.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This move is being driven by blinkered right-wing dogma that has ridden roughshod over public opinion which is strongly opposed to the sell-off of this national institution.
“We predict that the sell-off will lead to worse services for business and the general public, particularly in rural areas, as well as job losses, when private companies try to squeeze the last drop of profit out of the Royal Mail.
“Ironically, there is no need for this sale to take place. Royal Mail is modernising and is making a profit - £430 million last year - and it is improving service levels. All of this progress will now be at risk.
“Royal Mail has already stated it will pay out over £100 million to investors next year and that would be greater, if it were for a full year. This appeasement of the investors will be at the expense of jobs, future terms and conditions of employment, pensions and quality of service.
“This sale is motivated by the government’s need for cash to balance the books and nothing to do with public service. Chancellor George Osborne is grabbing at an opportunity to plug a gap in his shaky finances and does not care a jot about the short, medium or long term impact this will have.”
Vince Cable’s business department has already told Unite that: "All of Royal Mail's existing HM government provided loans will be refinanced with external debt facilities to be provided by Royal Mail's new banking syndicate”.
Len McCluskey added: “Undoubtedly, this will provide handsome profits for the Tories’ chums in the City who will benefit for arranging the sale – this privatisation will be early Christmas present for the spivs and profiteers.
“In three-to-five years, a great British public service, owned by and run for the public, will be in the hands of hedge funds whose purposes a ripped-off Britain know all too well.”
Unite will be liaising with CWU on campaigning against this sale and industrial action cannot be ruled out. Unite reps will be meeting for consultations early next week.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.