TUC conference: Unions back battle to save Royal Mail

TUC gives support to unions trying to save the Royal Mail from privatisation

The campaign against the Government's controversial plan to privatise Royal Mail won more support as unions warned potential investors against buying into the sell-off.

The TUC Congress in Bournemouth gave its backing to the Communication Workers Union and Unite, which are fighting privatisation on behalf of more than 100,000 postal workers and managers.

The CWU's deputy general secretary, Dave Ward, said he was confident his members would vote in favour of strikes when they are balloted in the coming weeks.

He told delegates that postal workers had dealt with some difficult issues as the industry has changed and modernised in recent years, adding: "We have not gone through all of that pain to save the industry only to hand it over to private investors who will take more money out than they will ever put in."

Mr Ward said he also had a message for Labour leader Ed Miliband, who is pressing for changes to the party's links with union.

"I go to sorting offices up and down the country and workers there are not talking about a new relationship. When are you going to get off your backside and stand up for a great public service like the Royal Mail?" said Mr Ward.

The union will take its campaign to the floor of Labour's annual conference in Brighton later this month, said Mr Ward, adding: "We have a warning for investors who might be thinking they will come in for a quick killing - we are not going away, we will defend the postal service and our members with everything we have got."

Tony Burke, assistant general secretary of Unite, which represents managers, said the public strongly opposed privatisation, adding: It is clear the Government is motivated by the chance to make a quick buck, a chance to sell off one of our prized assets at a massive cost to the taxpayer."

Mr Burke asked what safeguards the Government had put in place to stop stamp prices increasing or to safeguard the universal services.

"Will a private company keep an eye out for pensioners and the disabled as postal staff do on their rounds? Will they walk the floors of tower blocks to deliver mail?

"The Government should dump the idea, admit they got it wrong and admit they have no mandate."

A Department for Business spokesman said: "Action taken by the CWU will not alter the Government's decision to sell shares in Royal Mail in this financial year.

"Parliament decided over two years ago that selling shares in Royal Mail was the right thing to do to secure Royal Mail's future and protect the six day a week, one price goes anywhere, universal postal service. A successful, financially sustainable Royal Mail with access to private capital is in the best interests of the workforce and all users of the universal service.

"The Government accepts that it will not be able to convince the CWU of the benefits of a sale. But it believes that its reforms - including a sale of shares - will ensure that Royal Mail has a sustainable future.

"A viable and successful Royal Mail is in the best interests of employees. Through the sale we are also giving employees the opportunity to own a real stake in the business.

"We would encourage the CWU and RM to agree a pay deal through negotiations. This will be in the best interests of the employees, the company and, ultimately, the users of the universal service."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission, Benefits, OTE £100k: SThree: ...

Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

£27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you a recent graduate loo...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine