Postal workers' union vows to step up resistance to Royal Mail privatisation

Process will be a 'ripoff' for consumers – as shown by 30% rise in price of stamps – CWU leader Billy Hayes tells members

The postal workers' trade union has vowed to step up its campaign against Royal Mail privatisation after warning that the process will be a "ripoff".

The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents 140,000 Royal Mail employees, said the 30% increase in the price of first-class stamps from 30 April proves that selling the business will disadvantage consumers.

The government is planning a full or partial disposal of the Royal Mail from 2013 onwards, although the organisation's chief executive, Moya Greene, believes the first quarter of 2014 is a more likely date for any sale.

Billy Hayes, the CWU's general secretary, will tell the union's annual conference on Monday that the decision to deregulate stamp prices by the communications industry watchdog, Ofcom, was an ominous sign.

"The decision of Ofcom to authorise Royal Mail to make huge price increases for universal products has reinforced the case that preparing for privatisation is preparing a ripoff," he said.

Hayes said the CWU would relaunch its campaign against a selloff, but no explicit reference was made to industrial action.

"So it is vital to relaunch our campaign. Many private investors are frightened of well organised workers," he said.

The post office network will stay in public hands after Royal Mail privatisation.

First-class stamps are going up from 46p to 60p and second-class from 36p to 50p – a 39% rise. The coalition and Royal Mail chiefs argue that stamp prices must rise in order to protect a universal postal service.

The Royal Mail has seen its mail collection and delivery unit lose nearly £1bn in four years but the government hopes that a more financially robust organisation, with a balance sheet boosted by higher stamp revenues, will be more attractive to buyers.


Dan Milmo

The GuardianTramp

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