Royal Mail and CWU on privatisation
Royal Mail have put out a press release regarding the privatisation announced today. We don’t normally publish press releases verbatim on Tamebay, but we’ll make an exception today and also add what the CWU had to say.
Royal Mail are very insistent that the following information “is not for distribution in the United States, Canada, Australia or Japan or any other jurisdiction where such distribution would be unlawful“, so if you’re in the US please stop reading now.
Moya Greene, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Mail said
“The Government has initiated the process for Royal Mail’s privatisation and has dispelled any doubt over the future ownership of the business. It is now time for Royal Mail and the CWU to come to a new agreement for our people going forward. Talk of a ballot for industrial action makes no sense when there is a significant three-year deal on the table and negotiations are ongoing.
I understand our people’s concern that they should have protections in place as Royal Mail is privatised, which is why we have proposed a ground-breaking three-year, legally-binding agreement including a highly competitive pay offer of 8.6 per cent. But the company and our customers need protections too. We want to ensure that, in future, any disputes are settled through dialogue, mediation and arbitration.
It is because our customers trust us and value the service we provide, that there should not be a strike at this crucial time. If businesses can’t rely on us, they will look elsewhere to protect their own business.
The CWU recognises the need for us to access capital. In government ownership we have had to compete with the NHS, schools, roads and defence. We will also pay less interest on our company debt in the private sector than we do in the public sector. Access to private capital and a successful company is the best way to ensure secure employment for our people, who will be given a meaningful stake in the business.
We have done a lot for the people and our company, through a better more collaborative relationship. We need to build on that. At the end of the day, the most durable protection for everyone who works in this business is a successful Royal Mail trusted for reliability by the people whom we serve.”
All this is pretty much a repeat of what Business Minister Michael Fallon has been spouting today on pretty much every news programme. The CWU as expected are vehemently opposed saying “the plans to sell are a betrayal of the British public – 70% of whom are against privatisation according to a Sunday Times poll at the weekend.”
They also materially disagree with the government and Moya Greene comments.
Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary, said:
“This isn’t about what’s best for the Royal Mail, it’s about vested interests of government ministers’ mates in the City. Privatisation is the worst way to access to capital as it’s more expensive than borrowing under public ownership. There’s no competition with money for schools and hospitals as the government would have you believe – look at Network Rail which has borrowed billions on private markets at cheaper rates under an arrangement which doesn’t affect public debt. This is simply about dogma from old fashioned Tories wedded to privatisation..
Strike Ballot details
The CWU also announced details of their strike ballot, the first national strike ballot since 2009. Ballot papers are due to go out to 125,000 Royal Mail and Parcelforce (but not Post Office) workers on the 20th of September with a result to be announced on the 3rd of October. If there was a yes vote, the union would then be able to give 7 days’ notice for strike action, with the earliest strike action possible from the 10th of October.