Opposition parties unite to protest Royal Mail reforms

By politics.co.uk staff

A rally today by the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) against the privatisation of Royal Mail was attended by a host of opposition politicians.

Senior Labour figures have previously been reticent to be seen as active participants in protest rallies against coalition policy, but shadow business secretary John Denham attend and speak at the event.

The rally took place outside Westminster central hall – with the CWU are demonstrating against the postal services bill, which will see approximately 90% of Royal Mail privatised. The remainder is set to be sold to Royal Mail staff.

The Post Office, which will be separately run, may instead be mutualised.

The government claims Royal Mail is in desperate need of private investment to overcome chronic funding and efficiency problems.

But CWU general secretary Billy Hayes warned of dire consequences should the bill, which is currently in committee stage, pass.

He said: “If this legislation goes through it will mean the end of the postal service as we know it. Prices will sky rocket, the universal one-price-goes-anywhere service will be in jeopardy and post offices will close.

“If people think the weather has been bad for deliveries, you’ve not seen anything if the government gets its way.”

Mr Denham told the rally: “The government’s privatisation of Royal Mail means being able to go to a local post office to send parcels or pick up an internet shopping package could be a sign of Christmas past not Christmas future.”

Along with Mr Denham, the list of other prominent speakers includes Ken Livingston, Caroline Lucas, Unite general secretary-elect Len McCluskey, as well as representatives of Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the SDLP.

Plaid MP Elfin Llwyd said: “When will these politicians learn that privatisation of the postal service is not popular and just not wanted?

“A recent YouGov poll put the support for privatisation at just 15%, while 60% believe that it should remain in public hands. That’s a strong message being sent out.”