Socialist Worker

Mandelson, get your filthy hands off Royal Mail

Issue No. 2141

A rebellion is spreading that threatens to stop New Labour’s plans to sell off the post service.

It unites pensioners and other service users with the trade unions and has pulled in over 130 backbench Labour MPs who have pledged to vote down a bill that would allow Royal Mail to be privatised.

The bill allows for a third of the postal service to be sold to the private sector – and opens up the possibility to sell off more in the future.

Trade secretary Lord Mandelson has said there will be no retreat from the sell-off.

He claims his opponents are using “scare tactics”. Yet any sell off will mean more post office closures, a poorer service, jobs being axed and a renewed assault on post workers’ pensions.

North London pensioner Sybil Ashton led a campaign against the closure of her local post office, but it was closed anyway.

“Now instead of popping round the corner to the post office I have to walk for an hour,” she said.

Before the closure, Sybil could withdraw cash at the post office – now the nearest cash machine charges £1.50 for each transaction.

“They keep calling it the People’s Post Office,” she said, “but they keep taking it away. Privatisation means a worse service.”

The Labour Party is split down the middle on the issue. Mandelson is reliant on the support of Tory and Lib Dem MPs to vote the measure through.

Some 75 percent of the population in Britain oppose privatisation. It can and must be stopped.

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