Warning of industrial action over Royal Mail plans

A fresh battle over the future of the Royal Mail was raging today when postal workers warned of industrial action against Government plans to sell a stake in the business.







The Communication Workers Union (CWU) set itself on a collision course with the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition by vowing to campaign against privatisation plans.



The union said it believed a Bill on selling a stake in the Royal Mail will be included in the Queen's Speech tomorrow, warning it would not be supported by the public.



Delegates at the union's annual conference in Bournemouth rejected the "discredited" policy of the previous government and decided to campaign for a wholly publicly-owned Royal Mail.



Deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: "If we need to take industrial action to defeat privatisation to secure our members' pensions and jobs, we will not hesitate to do it.



"The battle for the future of this industry is on again. The CWU is ready for that battle."



The union ran a campaign last year which led to the Labour government shelving plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail, and later took industrial action over jobs, pay and working practices.



"We deserved a bit of a break, but within days of winning the election, the Government has made it absolutely clear that we are back in a major battle for the future of the postal service and our members' jobs.



"We are battle hardened, but we are certainly not battle weary."



Mr Ward said the Royal Mail's pensions deficit could soon be put at £10 billion, but he maintained the business's assets had grown to £26 billion, which the new Government was "crudely" trying to raid.



CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said every opinion poll in the last 20 years had shown public opposition to privatising the Royal Mail.



The main competitors mentioned as possible buyers, including Dutch firm TNT, were not showing any interest in taking a stake in the Royal Mail, he told delegates.



"The Government majority will make it difficult for us, and our tactics will have to be new and innovative. It will not be easy, but we have shown our determination to fight this."

Mr Hayes said later: "Privatising the Royal Mail is old politics dressed up in new language. It is not needed. We have an agreement and it is now time to move on.



"It is essential that the public realise what this proposal means - it will be a disaster."



Mr Hayes said he believed the Government was trying to get bad news out of the way in one go, but he predicted there would be tensions between Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs.



"We will have a united parliamentary Labour Party and I expect candidates in the party leadership election will endorse our position.



"Our members will be a bit weary, but we will galvanise our activists and campaign strongly against this."



Lee Barron, the CWU's Midlands regional secretary, said the Government did not have a mandate from the public to change the ownership of the Royal Mail.



"The Conservatives did not even mention it in their election manifesto. This is the failed politics of the past but, if we need to defend the industry, services and jobs, we will do that.



"We will take all means to protect this industry from the vultures of the private sector."



Linda Woodings, from the East Midlands branch of the CWU, said privatisation was "discredited", with productivity gains only achieved by cutting jobs.



"We halted the partial sell-off last year, with the help of hundreds of Labour MPs and many ministers. We also voiced the concerns of the public. We will do it again."

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities