Local MP Katy Clark was one of the speakers at a packed meeting in the House of Commons in support of keeping Royal Mail in public ownership.
The ‘lobby’ of parliament was organised by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) after the Tory-Lib Dem UK Government announced plans to privatise Royal Mail. In a recent ballot, 96% of CWU members voted to keep Royal Mail in public ownership, despite the UK Government offering each worker £1,500 of shares in a privatised company should the sell-off be carried through.
Currently, Royal Mail is a very successful public operation, but fears have been expressed that if services were privatised, companies would attempt to maximise profits by increasing the cost of postage and cherry-picking lucrative routes at the expense of others to more remote parts of the country.
Speaking after addressing last week’s meeting in the House of Commons, Katy Clark said, “I am delighted that so many postal workers have chosen to stand up against the Government’s harmful privatisation proposals. If the privatisation of Royal Mail goes ahead there is a very real threat to both the universal service and the Post Office network.”
The Labour MP added, “The more people learn about the privatisation plans the more they oppose them. It is essential now that postal workers and service users come together to fight these damaging plans and force the Government to think again.”
Ms Clark, MP for North Ayrshire & Arran, set-out why she opposes privatisation, “The six-day delivery service could be under threat and would be less secure if Royal Mail is transferred into private ownership. The Government claim that the universal service is enshrined in law, but many aspects of the universal service obligation are set by the regulator and can be easily changed.
“The track record of the regulator, to date, does not inspire confidence. We already know they are allowing TNT to cherry-pick services in London, employing staff on zero-hour contracts and far worse terms and conditions, and, with lower standards of service, to undercut Royal Mail.”
For the SNP, Mike Weir MP told the CWU lobby, “We remain absolutely opposed to privatisation and will join you in the fight.”
Following the meeting, Billy Hayes, General Secretary of the Communications Workers Union, said, “It is wonderful to hear so many MPs stand up in defence of Royal Mail and the postal services we value so much. The arguments put forward are strong, loud and clear - privatisation is not the will of postal workers or customers and it would cause more harm than good.
“There are too many unanswered questions, and history has shown us how failures cost the taxpayer more in the long-run. This is a profitable, successful company and should be allowed to continue to flourish in public ownership.”