The New Labour government seems determined to defy the laws of economic gravity by trying to part-privatise Royal Mail at a time when thousands of private companies across the world are going bust as a result of the world economic crash.
The very companies lined up to cherry-pick off the most profitable parts of the postal service are in the proverbial brown stuff. TNT, the Dutch-based company expected to take over up to 30% of Royal Mail are shedding 1,000 jobs as a result of declining profits. In marked contrast, Royal Mails profits have almost doubled in the past year, even though it is legally obliged to service every part of Northern Ireland and Britain! It makes absolutely no economic sense to privatise any part of Royal Mail. Yet, the unelected Business Minister Lord Peter Mandelson, better known as the Prince of Darkness still insists that Royal Mail will have to be part-privatised.
Postal workers can take advantage of the crisis New Labour finds itself in. There is huge opposition to privatisation of postal services. With opposition to the government at an all-time high due to it’s pro-rich and anti-working class policies, not to mention the MP expenses scandal, now is the time to step up the pressure to force the Government to abandon this deeply unpopular measure.
Royal Mail has now announced plans to introduce a pay freeze for it’s 181,000 workers which will mean a cut in pay, especially for the low paid. Postal workers should refuse to accept this. Royal Mail made £321million profit last year – there is no justification for pay cuts.
Postal workers should also demand that their union the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) stops funding the Labour Party. Postal workers donate £1million a year to a party which long ago walked away from the idea of representing the interests of workers. If you took away the names of the main parties it would be impossible to differentiate between them – their policies are identical: sleaze, privatisation, cuts, job losses, bail-outs for the rich… The list goes on.
It’s time the trade unions withdrew support for New Labour, and for that matter also stopped propping up the parties in power in the Assembly who also share the same economic madness of privatisation. Instead we need new mass parties of the working class which stands for a socialist solution to the economic crisis of capitalism and the madness of privatisation.June 2009