Skip to main content

Daylight robbery

Royal Mail privatisation

The impending privatisation of Royal Mail isn't so much a sale as bare-faced theft with a hefty side-order of bribery.

We are all being robbed of a precious national asset that belongs to each and every one of us. None of us will see a penny in return except for the wealthy few who can afford to speculate on shares.

So-called investors - gamblers and profiteers, to call them by their right name - are being bribed with our cash to snap up stakes in Royal Mail.

The company's pension scheme has already been taken over by the taxpayer to make sure Royal Mail turns a profit for its new owners.

In other words, its losses have been nationalised and its profits have been privatised - the same story we've seen over and over again with the banks, the railways, water, gas, electricity and steel.

Now we learn that Royal Mail could be in for an orgy of asset-stripping as its new private-sector owners flog off lucrative city-centre properties for which they paid just pennies in the pound.

And most scandalous of all, Royal Mail chief Moya Greene has openly offered postal workers a bribe not to strike against the sell-off.

We're not sure which is more insulting - the offer itself, the idea that a measly £300 would be enough to pay off workers for the destruction of a vital public service, or the fact that Greene herself rakes in a staggering £1.5 million a year in pay, benefits and bonuses.

This is just a taster of what Royal Mail will be like after privatisation. Phone-number salaries for the big bosses. Fat dividends for the speculators.

Pay squeezes and soaring workloads for the workers who actually deliver the mail. And an expensive, unreliable service for the millions of people who depend on Royal Mail.

There is no justification for this sell-off. There is no business case. No public support. No mandate at the ballot box.

Even the most rabid rightwingers in the Tory heartlands oppose it, knowing full well the damage it will do to rural communities across Britain.

The sale is being shoved through as fast as possible, without any real debate or scrutiny, so that the Con-Dems' big-business puppet masters get a proper pay-off before the coalition is booted out of power at the next election.

That's why David Cameron screeches so loudly about union influence on the Labour Party - so that no-one notices the corporate strings he is dangling from.

And it's why Labour needs to go further than last month's conference pledge to fight privatisation every step of the way.

There is one sure way to stop the sell-off dead in its tracks. Pledge to renationalise Royal Mail immediately the party regains power - and to ensure that the would-be profiteers make not one penny on the deal.

If Labour is feeling particularly generous it could refund what the speculators paid for their shares.

But just as we don't pay thieves to return stolen goods we shouldn't pay shareholders to return stolen companies.

A Labour pledge to renationalise Royal Mail without compensation would signal loud and clear that the era of the City's rule over Britain is finished for good.


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 10,044
We need:£ 7,956
13 Days remaining
Donate today