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Britain Deserves a Proper Postal Service

As the Royal Mail looks set to be taken over by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, workers will mobilise to defend the service — and the communities they serve must get ready to stand with them, writes Dave Ward.

(Credit: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)

The future of postal services in the UK is again under threat. The current Royal Mail Board have seriously mismanaged the company and have not done enough to move away from the approach of the previous CEO which saw an all out assault on their own employees. An increasingly likely next step for the company comes in the form of a takeover bid from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky’s firm, EP Group.

The truth is neither of these options are in the interest of the public and businesses of the UK and none yet offer hope of a better future for postal workers.

It is also bizarre to see certain wings of the media outraged by the prospective foreign ownership of Royal Mail when these same outlets backed the failed  money driven privatisation of the company.

Too many people are quick to write off Royal Mail and postal services across the globe. This is an institution and it deserves and needs better leadership. The CWU are calling for a completely new ownership model. One based on innovation, growth and maintaining its 500 year plus public service ethos. 

It cannot be right that a key part of the national infrastructure is allowed to be owned by individuals or companies who have no vision for the future and no clear plan to put the workforce at the heart of turning Royal Mail around. 

This is why we are calling on politicians from all parties to recognise the key role Royal Mail plays in every single community and deliver a solution based on people not profit. Perspective shareholders in Royal Mail should be vetted against this criteria. Our members are ready to expand their roles. But not on the basis of them becoming overworked, underpaid and the latest arm of the gig economy. 

Postal workers are up for change. And that change can deliver a world leading postal service to be proud of. Royal Mail must make use of its unrivalled fleet of vehicles, it must take advantage of having feet on the ground in every single community and it must leverage the trust on the doorstep that postal workers have across the UK. 

To do anything else would be reckless and a clear sign that the only interest of both the current Board and those bidding to take the company over is to run letter deliveries into the ground and become just another glorified parcels company. 

The CWU will not allow this to happen. We will utilise our members in the coming weeks and months and develop a campaign that puts the future of postal services in the UK right at the heart of this year’s general election. There will be no hiding place for the actions of this government or Labour. It is very simple now. You stand with the postal workers or you stand with the privateers. 

It is expected that takeover talks will accelerate in the coming days, with news potentially breaking tomorrow. Whoever owns the company, the message from frontline postal workers and the public has to be the same rebuild the service or move aside. 

The next few months promise to be very intense. Please let your local postie know they have your backing and let your MP and those seeking your support at the forthcoming election know that they will not have your vote unless they act to protect a vital part of the UK infrastructure.