Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie is helping postal workers to put their message to the Scottish Parliament. Having tabled a motion in support of the campaign to Keep the Post Public, last week she helped the Communication Workers Union to set up a lobby of MSPs.
The motion endorses the call by the CWU for an agreement supporting the modernisation of the industry; notes that the UK Government agreed £1.2 billion support for modernisation that the Royal Mail has so far only half spent; and welcomes the recommendations in the Hooper Report that the UK Government should take responsibility for the pensions deficit that followed an extended contributions holiday; but it opposes the partial privatisation of postal services.
Cathy said that “while Westminster will decide this issue, the decision that is made will have a huge impact on Scottish Parliament areas of responsibility. The universal service obligation is very important to the social and economic wellbeing of Scotland. Naturally, MSPs want to express their views and exert what influence they can on behalf of the Scottish people. Opinion polls show public support for privatisation as low as 3%, and there is only limited business support for privatisation
“The Royal Mail Group has become very profitable, with revenue increasing and all four businesses in profit. Already this year they are showing a profit of £255 million compared to £162 million for the whole of last year and full-year profits are expected to double. The profits would be even higher were it not for the uncompetitive conditions under which the Royal Mail delivers mail for rival companies.
“The global financial situation has exacerbated the Royal Mail pension fund problems, but I believe that if these can be addressed to facilitate partial privatisation, then they can be addressed to facilitate keeping the otherwise profitable Royal Mail publicly owned. The best way to protect the universal service obligation, including six days a week delivery, is to keep the post public.”
The lobby of MSPs was attended by postal workers from all over Scotland. There was a high turnout from MSPs, with 38 attending the lobby, and several others sending messages of support. The meeting was addressed by Cathy Peattie MSP, CWU General Secretary Billy Hayes, and Deputy General Secretary Dave Ward.
There is also strong opposition at Westminster, where EDM 428 now has 180 signatures – http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=37448&SESSION=899